No, Quebec, You Don’t Need a Pit Bull Ban
Even though breed-specific legislation has proven to be unfair to innocent dogs, ineffective and costly to enforce – and is opposed by just about every major animal welfare and veterinary group — the Quebec government is ignoring the recommendations of experts and considering banning pit bulls and other breeds perceived as “dangerous” from the province.
The proposed law, Bill 128, is the start of a gradual approach to legislating breeds in Quebec, according to Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux, who introduced it last week. Eventually the provincial government will be allowed to ban any ol’ breed of dog it decides is “dangerous.”
“Should Bill 128 pass, the result will therefore be the systematic, large-scale putting to death of dogs in shelters across the province,” stated the Montreal SPCA in an April 14 press release that said the ban would have “catastrophic consequences.”
When Montreal imposed a pit bull ban last year, the Montreal SPCA sued the city on the grounds that the ban was “discriminatory, vague and unreasonable.” The ban was briefly lifted, but unfortunately was reinstated after the Quebec Court of Appeal revoked the suspension.
Like the Montreal ban, the lamebrained idea of a province-wide ban on pit bulls (e.g., American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers, along with Rottweilers and mixes of these breeds) was mainly prompted by the mauling death of Christiane Vadnais in 2016. However, the dog that killed Vadnais was actually a boxer – not a pit bull, Rottweiler or mix – based on registration papers obtained by Humane Society International. The dog had previously been aggressive.
That’s right, because of this one non-pit-bull dog with a history of aggression, entire breeds are now in danger of being banished and euthanized for the so-called safety of Quebec residents.
“We are appalled by this senseless and archaic legislation that flies in the face of the best available science and expert advice,” said Ewa Demianowicz, campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada.
Demianowicz pointed out that the proposed law won’t increase public safety and will divert funding that could have instead gone to solutions proven to be effective for reducing dog bites and attacks.
A much more fair and successful safety measure for both citizens and dogs would be to define dogs as dangerous on the basis of their individual behavior and expert opinion, not on the breed they happen to be or appear to be. Dog owners of all breeds could be educated as to how to care for their pets and provide proper training.
“It’s not about the breed,” dog expert Valérie Trudel, president of the Association of Veterinarians of Quebec, told CBC. “It’s about the owner, it’s about responsibilities, it’s about making sure every single dog — no matter the breed — is safe to be around people.”
As the Montreal SPCA notes, “resorting to hysteria, fear, and prejudice as a means to push legislation forward is unacceptable, especially since proven, evidence-based solutions do exist.”
Just as it did for the Montreal ban, the Montreal SPCA is dedicated to doing everything in its power to stop the passage of Bill 128.
Please sign and share this petition urging the Quebec government not to pass this unnecessary and unfair law.
Photo credit: Cseszka