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Montreal moves to reform controversial pit bull-type breed ban

A pitbull named Athena goes for a walk at the SPCA, Tuesday, June 14, 2016 in Montreal.
A pitbull named Athena goes for a walk at the SPCA in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Just over one month after the municipal elections, the City of Montreal is taking steps to reform the former administration’s pit bull-type breed ban by suspending some elements of the bylaw.

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Councillor Craig Sauvé is in charge of animal management for the city.

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In a statement Friday, Sauvé said Montreal will only be issuing one type of dog licence moving forward — and it won’t be breed specific.

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“The special provisions in the Animal Control Regulations for the control of dangerous dogs, regardless of breed, are maintained in their entirety for the safety of the public. Montreal is a welcoming city for pet owners and will remain so,” Sauvé said.

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“We will continue to improve the regulation on animal control in order to provide Montreal with the best possible services in this area.”

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The reversal is being welcomed by the Montreal SPCA.

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“This is the first step in suspending all of the provisions that target dogs that happen to look a certain way,” said SPCA advocacy director Alanna Devine.

“There is no correlation between what a dog looks like and their behaviour.”

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She said former mayor Denis Coderre‘s administration targeted specific types of dogs, which was “wholly unscientific,” and “it doesn’t do anything to reduce the risk of dog bites.”

WATCH BELOW: Montreal’s pit bull ban

The organization was quick to congratulate Valérie Plante on her election win on Nov. 5.

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“The Montreal SPCA is pleased that a party whose agenda gives prominence to animal issues has been brought to power,” wrote the organization minutes after the election results came in.

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“This is the first time that animal welfare issues have become so important in public debate.”

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Pit bulls in particular were one of the main election issues throughout the campaign, and Plante’s party, Projet Montréal, ran on a promise to repeal the city’s year-old pit bull ban if elected.

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The new version of the animal by-law will be presented in the new year.