Montreal Law Enforces Death Sentence For City’s Pit Bulls
On Tuesday, September 27, 2016, Montreal passed legislation to ban all pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs from their city. Legislators voted 37 to 23 in favor of breed-specific legislation. This has outlawed all dogs that resemble pit bulls unless their owners meet strict terms and conditions. The owners of these dogs must undergo a criminal background check, purchase a $150 special permit, and the dogs must be altered, microchipped, vaccinated and only allowed outside with a muzzle and a 4-foot leash. For lucky owners and their dogs, this is doable but a completely unacceptable way of life. For others, such as low-income families, these obstacles are simply too difficult to overcome.
The law was proposed and passed after a series of unfortunate events in Montreal. Last June, a woman in the city was mauled to death in her yard by a loose dog. This was not the only incident of a dog attack in recent months and it lead Mayor Denis Coderre and the Montreal city council to consider banning the breed. Unfortunately, there were too many people that wanted to see the dogs go.
What does this mean for the pit bulls of Montreal? Just what we expected – a death sentence. While the dogs already in homes might be safe, albeit to live a cruel life stuck inside or treated like a vicious tiger, others are not so lucky. For owners that can’t afford the strict conditions, the dogs will be confiscated and euthanized. All of the dogs in Montreal shelters have been immediately deemed unadoptable and face euthanasia as well.
Rescues across the country were pulling any pit bull-type dogs out of shelters prior to the legislation being passed. They knew what was coming and wanted to save the innocent lives of these dogs. They have done nothing wrong. But there are still thousands of dogs left that have no other way out. They are sitting in shelters waiting for forever homes that they will never get the chance to see because they must be murdered.
As most of you know, this is my fur-son Waylon, and our former foster Addy. Both are considered pitbulls, and both are sweet as can be. When I read the news this morning that #montreal just passed #breedspecificlegislation, I was mad, sad, hurt and confused. I don't understand why anyone would vote to ban an entire group of breeds, because of the actions of individuals. There are a ton of arguments why this is a terrible idea, but I'm left thinking about what would happen if my city passed such a senseless and compassionless law. If someone tried to tell me that I couldn't adopt Waylon because he's a pitbull, or that I had to walk him with a muzzle on a 4 foot leash when he's done no harm to anyone, I would move. I would fight it, and I would move somewhere where my baby wouldn't have to suffer because of the stupidity of a few. I know moving isn't an option for many, and my heart goes out to all who are affected by this. Please, #educate yourself and others about pitbull breeds. No dog should be persecuted because of his perceived breed, or shape of his head and strong muscles. What happened to us seeing #pitbulls as #nannydogs? Please keep and open mind; get to know the individual dog just as you would get to know any individual person. Every dog is different, and more than likely, any poor behaviors have come from the owner, and are NOT inherent in the breed. #dontbullymybreed #montrealpitbullban #banstupidity #idmoveformypit #mypitbullisfamily #mypitwilllickyourface #spreadthlove #pitbullsofinstagram #staffy #amstaff #dogs #dogsofinstagram #dogsofminneapolis #waylonthepitbull #pitbullsofficial
The backlash has been incredible. The Montreal SPCA, which covers 12 boroughs, has stated it will cancel its contract with the city under its ban. Individual veterinarians and the Quebec Order of Veterinarians have voiced their desire to refuse to euthanize any of these innocent dogs. “I, professionally, morally, ethically am not required to euthanize those animals,” Karen Joy Goldenberg, a veterinarian at a local animal hospital, told CBC News. “Now, if I actually witness or believe that a dog is dangerous to public safety, it has actually bitten someone, regardless of its breed, then absolutely I would agree to put it to sleep for its welfare and the welfare of the people around it.” But the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of these dogs have never shown aggression towards anyone.
What’s more is the evidence that breed specific legislation simply doesn’t work. There are many well-documented cases where BSL has been enacted and dog bite occurrences have risen. No one breed is responsible for the actions of individual dogs. The dogs involved in fatal and serious dog attacks are dogs that were not trained, lacked a suitable temperament, or simply out of control. In fact, many of the dogs responsible for fatal attacks were not pit bulls at all.
So what can we do to overturn this mess? Can these dogs be saved? We can only try and not give up. You can voice your opinion by signing the petition here. You can write to city officials to tell them what you think of the ban. Perhaps even better and more urgent, you can help the Montreal SPCA find homes for these death row shelter dogs by adopting here.