Montreal SPCA calls municipal election results ‘great news for animals’

This June 14, 2016 file photo shows a pit bull going for a walk at the Montreal SPCA.
This June 14, 2016 file photo shows a pit bull going for a walk at the Montreal SPCA. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Montreal’s SPCA was quick on the draw Sunday night – announcing it was pleased by the results of the municipal election just minutes after news outlets declared Valérie Plante the new mayor.

READ MORE: Valérie Plante elected first female mayor of Montreal

“The Montreal SPCA is pleased that a party whose agenda gives prominence to animal issues has been brought to power,” wrote the organization. “This is the first time that animal welfare issues have become so important in public debate.”

Pit bulls in particular were a prominent election issue. Plante’s party, Projet Montréal, promised to repeal the city’s year-old pit bull ban if elected.

The bylaw prohibited Montrealers from acquiring pit bulls, and put restrictions on existing pit bulls in the city, including asking owners to register their animals and muzzle the dogs outside of their homes.

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READ MORE: Montreal pit bull ban: registration deadline is Friday

The SPCA and other groups had criticized these measures, saying that they didn’t actually help to reduce dog bites. In its press release, the SPCA said it was “relieved” that Projet Montréal planned to repeal the ban and was happy to help the new administration address the problem of dog bites through “fair and effective” measures.

READ MORE: ‘Zero tolerance for dog attacks’: Montreal imposes strict animal rules, focuses on pit bulls

The animal welfare group also expressed hope that the new administration would follow through on its promise to phase out carriage horses on Montreal’s streets. It also called on the city to improve municipal animal services.

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“This election is wonderful news for the animals in the Montreal area,” said Élise Desaulniers, executive director of the Montreal SPCA. “Citizens of Montreal expect to see big changes in animal welfare and services in their city during the tenure of Mayor Plante, with whom we look forward to working.”

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