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Montreal is set to lift a pit bull ban that has been a point of controversy since its 2016 inception.
Under the bylaw, which was originally passed under former mayor Denis Coderre, muzzle and harness use were regulated and new pit bull adoptions were prohibited.
But from December, these rules will be officially overturned by Municipal party, Projet Montréal.
The bylaw was originally prompted by the 2016 death of Christiane Vadnais, who was mauled to death by a supposed pit bull.
DNA tests showed that the dog that mauled Vadnais was 87.5 percent American Staffordshire terrier – which created contention over breed classification.
Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, and American Staffordshire terriers are all commonly referred to as pit bulls and the existing bylaw applies to all three.
This approach has attracted a small army of critics, including animal activists, welfare charity the SPCA, and a number of vocal celebrities who believe it discriminates against the animals.
Montreal SPCA representative, Alanna Devine, said the problem lay not in a bad breed but in bad ‘owners’.
She said: “Quite frankly, if we prohibit a certain type of dog, these people are simply going to switch to another type of dog.”
Animal advocates have long argued against breed-specific bans in favour of case-by-case management – and according to city councilor Craig Sauvé, this is the approach Projet Montréal intends to adopt.
Sauvé, who now manages the animal services file, said this last week when confirming the suspension of breed-specific bylaws.
He claimed Montreal intends to be inclusive of all people who have companion animals, adding: “We feel like targeting one breed of dog is not the right approach, because all breeds of dogs are potentially dangerous, so we have to work on how we can help [people] get a better control of their dogs.”