Montreal SPCA has launched lawsuit against the City of Montreal in relation to new breed-specific by-law which was passed earlier this week after the council voted 37-23 in favour.

The animal welfare organisation had previously told authorities they would no longer provide dog control services to the city if the controversial bill introducing breed specific legislation was passed.

Montreal SPCA released the following statement on their website announcing the move, which it hopes can safeguard the future of innocent Pit Bulls and Pit Bull types in the city:

“Following the adoption yesterday by the Montreal city council of the new animal control by-law targeting specific dog breeds, and in particular, requiring that behaviourally sound, healthy adoptable dogs and puppies be put to death, the Montreal SPCA urgently filed a lawsuit against the city at the Montreal courthouse today.”

They continue, “The Application for judicial review and stay filed by the Montreal SPCA aims, first off, to suspend the application of the sections of the by-law targeting “Pit bull type dogs” in order to then have these sections declared illegal, null, and without effect by Quebec’s Superior Court.”

According to the animal welfare organisation, the provisions of the new by-law targeting “Pit bull type dogs” are contrary to several fundamental principles that govern the legality of municipal by-laws including:

  • Discriminatory in that they create additional and punitive obligations for owners and guardians of “Pit bull type dogs” whereas this category includes dogs who are not, in fact, dangerous
  • Vague and imprecise in their definition of “Pit bull type dogs” such that it is impossible to know which dogs fall into this category
  • Problematic in terms of procedural fairness in that they fail to include a means to challenge the designation of a dog as a “Pit bull type dog”, even if a genetic analysis was to be conducted
  • Contrary to article 898.1 of the Civil Code of Quebec, which grants animals the status of sentient beings, and to the Animal Welfare and Safety Act, both adopted last December by the provincial government as part of Bill 54
  • Unreasonable in that they treat all “Pit bull type dogs” as dangerous dogs in spite of the fact that there exists no credible evidence to the effect that dogs belonging to this arbitrary category are inherently dangerous.

Breed specific legislation does not work. In Toronto, where Pit Bulls are banned and virtually extinct there now, the number of reported dog bites has increased. This alone should tell bodies that education is needed, banning a breed does to prevent injuries.

Hundreds of innocent dogs will lose their lives if this ban is enforced, we wish Montreal SPCA well with their case for the sake of the dogs at risk.

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