Law to ban pit bulls mulled in Montreal

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MONTREAL – A controversial ruling in Montreal has some dog owners outraged.

Across from Montreal City Hall, dog owners spoke out intent on defending a breed labeled dangerous there.

“The only dog to be on the cover of Time three times,” said one dog owner. “Roosevelt had a pitbull. They were considered a nanny dog.”

Arguments that have failed to convince the mayor.

“When 38 percent of all bites are coming from pitbulls there is a situation here,” Mayor Denis Coderre said.

Now a debate over a new by law to ban Montrealers from adopting pitbulls and to impose a series of rules on those who already own them.

Some of the proposals include keeping the dogs muzzled and on a short leash in public, and a criminal background check for owners. Punishment for breaking the rules could lead to an order to euthanize the dog. Enforcing those rules is another hurdle.

Veterinarians said they have no obligation to put down healthy animals.

“Euthanasia was not intended for those dogs and the professional responsibility we have was not intended for this situation,” veterinarian Judith Weissman said.

The debate is emotional and has been raging since June when a Montreal woman was mauled to death in her own backyard by a neighbor’s dog.

Other jurisdictions have brought in bans. Ontario brought in its legislation in 2005. Other Canadian cities too imposed a ban, including Winnipeg.

Banning a breed is the wrong solution said protesters. They said that these are generally good dogs that can go wrong with bad owners and that is the behavior that needs to be controlled.

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