Quebec Abandons Plans to Ban Pit Bulls

Quebec has done an about-face — and it’s a welcome one.  The city will not move forward with a breed-specific ban on dogs after all.

Bill 128, sponsored by Minister of Public Security Martin Coiteux, was poised to ban specific dog breeds that lawmakers considered “potentially dangerous.” Those breeds included pit bulls, American Staffordshire terriers, bull terriers, Rottweilers and crosses or mixes of those breeds.

Had this bill passed, people who already owned these types of dogs would have been grandfathered in and could keep their pets. Any new owner, however, would face a fine of up to $5,000. And those dogs would be seized and euthanized or placed in a shelter.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Despite heartfelt, emotional testimony from families and victims of dog attacks, Quebec officials realized there are inescapable problems in trying to enforce such a law. Which dogs does it really apply to? Can you simply go by appearance? How would enforcers know if they were targeting one of the banned breeds?

Coiteux told CBC News that he took note of a similar ban in the province of Ontario, which served as the model for the original Bill 128. There, municipalities reported struggling to enforce the ban appropriately. Some officials weren’t even trying to enforce it, deeming it unworkable.

A similar ban in Montreal likewise didn’t work and was dropped.

“We are pleased [with the outcome in Quebec],” Montreal councillor Craig Sauvé told The Montreal Gazette. “They did their work, they met the experts and they came to the same conclusions that we did, that there is no scientific basis for legislating against a specific breed.”

Quebec officials listened to testimony regarding whether pit bull bans make the population safer, and they found a lack of compelling evidence.

“There is no scientific consensus that the idea of going so far as to designate a ban on a specific race (of dogs) is applicable,” Coiteux told The Montreal Gazette. “This came across very strongly during hearings (into the bill) and I believe when we make laws they need to be based on objective scientific facts.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Those scientific facts indicate that there’s nothing in the nature of a pit bull that makes it a “dangerous breed.” It’s all in how that dog is raised, socialized and treated.

Bill 128 isn’t entirely out the window, though. Quebec intends to pass requirements that apply when dogs prove themselves to be dangerous.

In those cases, municipalities would be able to seize — and, if necessary, destroy — dogs that attack people. Dog owners could be ordered to get rid of dogs that are demonstrably dangerous. Dogs will also have to be kept on a leash in public where children are present.

Interestingly, Coiteux promises stricter controls over breeders to keep them from developing puppies with genetic and behavioral dispositions that could cause them to grow into aggressive adult dogs. How that will work remains to be seen.

The great news, though, is that Quebec is no longer on the bandwagon for a breed-specific ban. Officials there responded the right way to evidence showing the ineffectiveness of these bans, and they ultimately agreed that certain breeds can’t be labeled inherently dangerous breeds.

Thanks for seeing the light, Quebec. The dogs thank you too.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

83 comments

Carole R
Carole R26 days ago

Thanks for posting.

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Renata B
Renata B27 days ago

Well done: tell PeTA! A PeTA senior officer told me in an email - when I criticised their support for BSL - that pit bulls can't be trusted and can always be dangerous.

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Emma L
Emma L28 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Thomas M
Past Member 2 months ago

thank you

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Chad Anderson
Chad A3 months ago

Thank you.

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John W
John W5 months ago

Thanks for sharing this. :-)

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R5 months ago

Anyone interested in the thoughts of an experienced veterinarian?

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Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons5 months ago

Since there are only about 3.7 million pit bulls in the U.S. at any given time, the odds start at about one chance in 80 that any given pit bull will kill a human or animal in any given year––compared to about one chance in 24,666 that any given dog of any other breed will kill any pet or farmed animal.

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Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons5 months ago

Overall, pit bulls accounted for 68% of the human dog attack deaths in 2017, 88% of the human disfigurements, 92% of the dogs killed by other dogs, 94% of the dogs seriously injured by other dogs, 96% of the cats killed by dogs, and 74% of the farmed animals killed by dogs.

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Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons5 months ago

More statistics for you. Pit bulls killed 92% of dogs killed by dogs & 96% of cats killed by dogs

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