Montreal SPCA Sues City Over New Pit Bull Ban

If you love dogs and are thinking about moving to Canada after November’s presidential election, you should scratch Montreal off your list of potential new homes. It has just joined Ontario and Winnipeg in banning pit bulls.

Despite protests, tens of thousands of petition signatures — and the fact that breed-specific legislation (BSL) has proven to be ineffective and costly wherever it’s enacted — the Montreal City Council voted to enforce a ban.

“My duty as mayor of Montreal is making sure I am working for all Montrealers,” said Mayor Denis Coderre at the Sept. 27 City Council meeting, CBC News reports. “And I am there to make sure they feel safe and that they are safe.”

Apparently Coderre (and the 37 of 60 council members who voted in support of the ban) didn’t bother to check to see if citizens are truly safer in areas where breed bans are in effect. If he had, perhaps he wouldn’t be so sure about the safety of all Montrealers. In fact, over in Ontario, which has banned pit bulls since 2005, dog bite incidents hit an all-time high in 2013 and 2014.

Because BSL, which includes breed bans, does not increase public safety and punishes beloved, well-behaved dogs based on their looks, it is opposed by most major animal welfare organizations. In August, the RSPCA released a report exposing the “ineffectiveness, flaws and negative impact of the breed-specific law.”

The Montreal SPCA also strongly opposes BSL, and had campaigned for weeks to stop the ban from happening. Early in September, the SPCA warned that if the ban passed, it would no longer provide dog control services to the city.

“Like any organization, we need to act in a way that respects our fundamental values,” Executive Director Benoit Tremblay said in a Sept. 7 statement. “Contributing to a system that would ultimately result in the euthanasia of healthy animals that do not pose any danger is a step that the Montreal SPCA cannot take.”

New Bylaw Discriminatory, Vague and Unreasonable

Less than 24 hours after the ban was passed, the Montreal SPCA made another major announcement: It has filed a lawsuit against the city. It’s asking the Quebec Superior Court to immediately suspend the sections of the bylaw targeting “pit bull-type dogs,” and then have those sections declared illegal. The provisions are discriminatory, vague and unreasonable, the Montreal SPCA stated.

The new bylaw, which goes into effect Oct. 3, bans the new ownership of pit bull and pit bull-type dogs in all 19 Montreal boroughs. Current owners must pay a $150 application fee for a special permit to keep their dogs, who must be muzzled when outdoors and kept on short leashes.

The dogs of owners who don’t follow these rules could be euthanized.

The bylaw was prompted by the June 2016 mauling death of Christiane Vadnais — by a dog that was actually a boxer, based on registration papers obtained by the Humane Society International. The dog had previously been aggressive. Yes, Vadnais’ death was horrible, but it makes no sense to punish an entire breed, and dogs that happen to look like that breed, because of this one dog who wasn’t even a pit bull.

When the mayor of Quebec City announced that pit bulls would be banned there after Vadnais’ death, he was met with so much resistance that he changed his mind. Unfortunately, there was no such luck with Mayor Coderre of Montreal.

Hopefully the Montreal SPCA’s lawsuit will be successful and this unfair ban will be short-lived. In the meantime, the Quebec Order of Veterinarians sent a reminder to its members that they have the right to refuse to euthanize healthy pit bulls.

“We don’t euthanize pets that are healthy because the owner doesn’t have time for them and we don’t need to euthanize healthy pets simply because the city told us to,” Dr. Karen Joy Goldenberg, a Montreal veterinarian, told CBC News.

Please sign and share the Care2 petition asking Mayor Coderre to put an end to Montreal’s discriminatory pit bull ban. If your city has a pit bull ban, why not start your own petition using this handy guide today? The Care2 community will rally behind your cause. Together, we can make BSL a thing of the past!


Photo credit: Rusty Clark


Peggy B
Peggy B10 months ago

It is the duty of all elected officials to be educated before they make decisions.

Jeanne R
Jeanne Rogers10 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jeanne R
Jeanne Rogers10 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Virginia Abreu de Paula
Virginia Abreu de Paulaabout a year ago

"The dogs of owners who don’t follow these rules could be euthanized". No. They won't be euthanized. They will be exterminated. They are not suffering from any terrible disease. They plan to simply kill them.

Freya S.
Freya Sabout a year ago

Humans aren't born violent and neither are animals.

Sierra B.
Sierra Babout a year ago

wow. and I thought people couldnt get more stupid

Danuta Watola
Danuta Wabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer Habout a year ago

“And I am there to make sure they feel safe and that they are safe.” Right! I would feel much safer knowing that dogs are banned and families are broken up. Bans must be stopped.

" ...and we don’t need to euthanize healthy pets simply because the city told us to,” Good for the vets who will stand up against such awful bans.

william Miller
william Millerabout a year ago


Wendi M.
Wendi Mabout a year ago

TYFS This is ridiculous ban idiot Humans not poor Dogs based on their looks 😡