The City of Montreal is reminding everyone that March 31 is the final deadline for pit bull owners to register their dog. In just a few more days it will be officially illegal for Montreal residents to own an unregistered pit bull.
Originally scheduled for December 31 of last year, the city extended the deadline for the hotly contested by-law that has had animal lovers and animal advocacy groups up in arms since it was introduced in early 2016.
The Montreal SPCA has been one of the most vocal opponents of the by-law, contending that it was hastily decided upon, based on very little factual information, and a hysterical response to the problem of dangerous dogs.
In an earlier interview with the Daily Hive, Montreal SPCA Director of Advocacy, Alanna Devine, emphasized the need for vigilance.
“We need to look at facts and evidence. Not to take away from this horrible tragedy, but what we’re seeing right now is hysteria being caused by emotional language being thrown around, instead of looking at the studies and what experts are saying.”
The main problem, according to the SPCA, was that targeting dogs of a specific breed or dogs that look a specific way never really addressed the core issue of community safety. In simple terms, legislation like this simply does not reduce dog bites, according to the experts.
Despite the efforts by the local SPCA who challenged the by-law in court, and the outcry from animal lovers at home and around the world, pit bull owners eventually found out this past December that the Quebec Court of Appeal had overturned the Superior Court’s suspension of the sections of the City of Montreal’s by-law targeting “pit bull type dogs”.
That meant that the pit bull ban was back on and many of the provisions of the by-law that target pit bull-type dogs went into immediate force; including not being able to adopt these dogs in Montreal, not being able to own one if not over 18, and requiring them to be on a short lease and muzzled when in public.
In response, and as promised, the SPCA eliminated its dog control from the nine Montreal boroughs it serves because it wanted nothing to do with euthanizing healthy and behaviourally sound animals because of their breed or the way that they look.
In all the brouhaha and back-and-forth legal proceedings, the original deadline to register your pit bull-type dog was extended by the City of Montreal to March 31, 2017, which is now only a few days away.
“The city wishes to inform you that the animal control by-law that refers to pit bull-type dogs is in effect everywhere within Montreal’s city limits,” says the official city press release.
“Montreal has changed the deadlines for obtaining a special permit for pit bull-type dogs under the provisions of the By-law Concerning Animal Control. Consequently, the city will accept, through March 31, 2017, that owners of pit bull-type dogs hold a “regular” dog permit while waiting to apply for a special permit for their dog. They will have until June 1, 2017 to provide supporting documents that demonstrate that they meet the conditions for the special permit. The registration clinics for pit bull-type dogs started on December 5 in Accès Montréal offices. All cat and dog owners of whatever breed that live anywhere within city limits must hold a valid regular permit for their pet at all times.
The schedule of dates for submitting your application for a special permit can be found here.
In the meantime, much has been said and written about the concern many pit bull owners who may lack the funds or the necessary paperwork proving ownership have about this looming deadline and what it may mean to them and their pets.
The Montreal SPCA continues to maintain that this legislation was ill-conceived and will do little to curb dog bites and make us safer. For alternate solutions that don’t penalize dog owners and their animals, you can go here.