Montreal SPCA launches lawsuit against the City of Montreal in relation to new breed-specific by-law

law_picture_72dpiMontreal, September 28th 2016 – Following the adoption yesterday by the Montreal city council of the new animal control by-law targeting specific dog breeds, and in particular, requiring that behaviourally sound, healthy adoptable dogs and puppies be put to death, the Montreal SPCA urgently filed a lawsuit against the city at the Montreal courthouse today. The Application for judicial review and stay filed by the Montreal SPCA aims, first off, to suspend the application of the sections of the by-law targeting “Pit bull type dogs” in order to then have these sections declared illegal, null, and without effect by Quebec’s Superior Court.

The provisions of the new by-law targeting “Pit bull type dogs” are contrary to several fundamental principles that govern the legality of municipal by-laws. These provisions are, notably:

  • Discriminatory in that they create additional and punitive obligations for owners and guardians of “Pit bull type dogs” whereas this category includes dogs who are not, in fact, dangerous
  • Vague and imprecise in their definition of “Pit bull type dogs” such that it is impossible to know which dogs fall into this category
  • Problematic in terms of procedural fairness in that they fail to include a means to challenge the designation of a dog as a “Pit bull type dog”, even if a genetic analysis was to be conducted
  • Contrary to article 898.1 of the Civil Code of Quebec, which grants animals the status of sentient beings, and to the Animal Welfare and Safety Act, both adopted last December by the provincial government as part of Bill 54
  • Unreasonable in that they treat all “Pit bull type dogs” as dangerous dogs in spite of the fact that there exists no credible evidence to the effect that dogs belonging to this arbitrary category are inherently dangerous.

The Montreal SPCA is represented in this case by Me Marie-Claude St-Amant et Me Sibel Ataogul, two partners at Melançon, Marceau, Grenier et Sciortino, senc. who also sit on the board of directors of the Association des juristes progressistes. The application will be presented before the Superior Court tomorrow, Thursday, September 29th.

For more information on breed-specific legislation, visit www.saferkindercommunities.com


Media contact: Anita Kapuscinska, Media Relations Coordinator, Montreal SPCA, 514 656-2760, or anitak@spca.com.

About the Montreal SPCA
Founded in Montreal in 1869, we were the first animal welfare society in Canada and our mission is to:

  • protect animals against negligence, abuse, and exploitation;
  • represent their interests and ensure their well-being;
  • raise public awareness and help develop compassion for all living beings.

For more information about the Montreal SPCA, please visit our website at www.spca.com.

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