A judge has put a temporary hold on the city of Montreal’s plans to introduce a new breed-specific bylaw following Montreal SPCA’s lawsuit against the city, announced last week.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Louis Gouin listened to the petition in the Superior Court yesterday (3rd October) and after raising questions about issues terminology decided to suspend the breed specific legislation bill with plans to make a further decision on 5th October.

UPDATE: Decision reached on 5th October by the judge is to suspend indefinitely inviting clarity on the bill’s wording about how to identify the breed/s which will be affected.

At this stage and until a further decision is reached, the new bylaw which was due to come into effect is on hold and Pit Bulls and Pit Bull types can continue to live with their families as they were before the bylaw was announced last week.

During the hearing, at which lawyers were present on behalf of both Montreal SPCA and the city of Montreal, both parties made arguments in front of the judge.

According to local CBC news, the judge admitted to the city’s legal representative René Cadieux “I won’t hide from you that in my reading of the bylaw … I had several questions,” echoing concerns raised by Montreal SPCA.

The judge paid particular attention to wording around muzzling, and how dogs would eat or drink when muzzled, and specifically how you assess a Pit Bull or Pit Bull type, given cross-breeds from the list of breeds set to be banned is lengthy. The judge had concerns about generational crosses and how far back in a dog’s pedigree you review to identify a cross-breed, i.e. if a dog’s grandparents were cross-breeds.

To this, Cadieux voiced the opinion that “It’s like pornography, you know it when you see it.”

In response to concerns that Pit Bulls who have done nothing wrong will be caught in the cross-fire of this blanket ban (which has not worked when been implemented in other cities such as Toronto, who are reporting an increase in dog bites with hardly any Pit Bulls now living there) Cadieux said, “It’s sad, but not cruel.”

The Montreal SPCA are claiming this as their first small victory in a journey to save dogs from a fate undeserved.

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