Why Montreal’s New Mayor Is Good News for Dog Owners

In what’s being considered as a stunning upset, Valerie Plante has beaten incumbent Denis Coderre to become the new mayor of Montreal. The Montreal SPCA is “ecstatic” about Plante’s win, according to a CTV headline – and the owners of pit bulls in the city should feel the same way.

Here’s why: Unlike Coderre, who enacted an unfair breed ban that punishes dogs based on their looks, Plante — who will be Montreal’s first female mayor — has the good sense to know certain dog breeds aren’t inherently dangerous. She has promised to remove the controversial new bylaw that bans from the city pit bulls and dogs that happen to look like pit bulls.

Breed-specific legislation (BSL), which includes breed bans, is not only unfair to innocent dogs but has proven to be ineffective in increasing public safety and costly to enforce. For these reasons it’s opposed by most major animal welfare groups, and fortunately the trend has been to repeal these laws rather than enforce them.

But not Montreal. In September 2016, Coderre and the city council voted to ban the new ownership of pit bull and pit bull-type dogs. Current pit bull owners would have to pay a $150 application fee for a special permit to keep their dogs, who would have to be muzzled and kept on short leashes when out in public. (Over 500 Montreal pit bull owners, many of whom had completed the required paperwork, were shocked to receive a letter from the city in August warning them they had only four weeks to rehome or surrender their pets.)

This new bylaw was based on the tragic case of a woman who was mauled to death by a dog – that was a boxer, not a pit bull, according to Humane Society International. Immediately after the ban was announced, the Montreal SPCA sued the city, saying the sections of the new bylaw targeting pit bull-type dogs were discriminatory, vague, unreasonable – and illegal. The ban was temporarily suspended, but the Quebec Court of Appeal later revoked the suspension. More than 113,000 Care2 members signed a petition urging Coderre to permanently end the pit bull ban.

Now Montreal voters have made it loud and clear they don’t want the ban.

“The breed ban introduced by the Coderre administration has been a key issue in the electoral campaign and citizens have clearly expressed their opposition to this measure,” said Sophie Gaillard, lawyer for the Montreal SPCA’s Animal Advocacy Department, in a statement.

Plante is the leader of Projet Montreal, a political party that’s committed to improved transportation, lower taxes and the welfare of animals. Her election as mayor “is historic on several levels,” the Montreal SPCA said in the statement. “This is the first time that animal welfare issues have become so important in public debate. Projet Montreal’s election was made possible in part by citizens who are committed to animal well-being mobilizing to vote.”

The Montreal SPCA and local animal advocacy groups hope to repeal the ban ASAP – hopefully by March 2018. “We know what needs to be done,” Johanne Tasse of the Companion Animal Adoption Centres of Quebec told CTV. “We know what Calgary has done. Just take it and apply it here.” Calgary dog regulations don’t single out any breeds. All dogs must be registered and be kept on short leashes when out in public, except at off-leash parks.

The Montreal SPCA said it’s more than willing to help Plante and the new administration develop and implement fair and effective measures to address the problem of dog bites.


In even more good news for animals in Montreal, Plante is opposed to the cruel carriage horse industry, which she called “inhumane and unsafe.” The Montreal SPCA hopes the city will begin taking steps to abolish carriage horse rides by next summer. 

“This election is wonderful news for the animals in the Montreal area,” stated Elise Desaulniers, executive director of the Montreal SPCA. “Citizens of Montreal expect to see big changes in animal welfare and services in their city during the tenure of Mayor Plante, with whom we look forward to working.”

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


Richard B
Richard B2 days ago

Thanks very much

Ellie L
Ellie L20 days ago

thank you

Barbara S
Barbara Sabout a month ago

thank you for sharing

Coo R
Coo R1 months ago


Jan S
Jan S2 months ago


Caitlin L
Past Member 2 months ago

Thanks for posting

Paula A
Past Member 2 months ago

Thank you.

Gino C
Past Member 6 months ago

Thank you

Glennis W
Glennis W9 months ago

All so awesome Thank you for caring and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W9 months ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing