This past week, the city councillors of Montreal has joined the group of cities and states with breed specific legislation (BSL) against Pit Bulls. Well, the victims of this outrageous and unnecessary law are Pit Bulls, but sadly, due to the vagueness of the bill, any dog with a large head or appears to be a Pit Bull. Wrongly stereotyped as naturally violent and aggressive, Pit Bulls are some of the most misunderstood dogs in society. Despite the fact that at one point they were referred to as “nanny dogs” due to their protective nature towards children, their reputation has been severely tarnished over the years due to their prevalence in dogfighting rings or their role as gang props.
Out of fear that this “dangerous breed” will attack innocent citizens, Montreal’s city councillors have passed a bill that essentially outlaws the breed. No dog considered a Pit Bull can be adopted from shelters and so, all dogs that don’t have an “owner” at the time that the legislation passes will be euthanized. As for people who already own Pit Bulls, they will be forced to follow some stringent rules. Specifically, they will be required to pass a criminal background check and pay for a $150 special permit. As for the dog, they will have to be sterilized, vaccinated, microchipped, muzzled, and kept on a four-foot leash at all times.
Unsurprisingly, many are enraged at this breed specific and completely groundless legislation. Veterinarians are especially uneasy about the idea of having to put down a dog simply because of their breed. In fact, many disagree with the bill so much, that they are refusing to euthanize Pit Bulls that don’t have a record of biting or are perfectly healthy. Veterinarians in Montreal are not the first city in the province of Quebec that will have to deal with the difficult task, additionally, areas in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba also have BSL against Pit Bulls. And just as you would imagine, veterinarians in these places have also been troubled by this law. Some have even spoken out about how grim the task they are being forced to execute actually is, and how uneasy it has made vets in Quebec, and will likely make vets from Montreal, feel. “It’s going to be very, very hard to find a big population of veterinarians who will sleep well at night, knowing they’ve put down a healthy animal,” Dr. Karen Joy Goldenberg of Quebec told CBC News.
Unfortunately, the process cannot be halted with a simple refusal. According to the new law, veterinarians who refused to euthanize must make an effort to refer owners to another professional who will agree to put down the dog. On top of that, under the bylaw, guardians only have a 48-hour window to find a veterinarian who agrees to put the dog down and then an additional 24 hours to provide written proof of euthanization. As Dr. Joël Bergeron, president of the Quebec Order of Veterinarians, told CBC, “it is up to up to the city to clarify exactly what owners and veterinarians must do if they can’t find a veterinarian willing to put their animals down.”
If all of this seems wildly complicated, and unnecessary, know that we totally agree. Not only does this law subject dogs that may not even be “Pit Bulls” or Pit-mixes to ridiculous rules, but it is unjust to kill thousands of dogs simply based on fear. To make matters worse, breed specific legislation has not helped lower the numbers of dog bite attacks … at all. The fight is not over yet! We can still help Pit Bulls in Montreal and put an end to this absurd breed specific legislation. The SPCA de Montreal is taking action by suing the city for this ludicrous law. If you also believe that Pit Bulls should be allowed to live in peace in Montreal, please sign our petition and give Pitties a chance at survival!
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