The Montreal SPCA Preoccupied by the City of Montreal’s Announcement

MNMontreal, August 17 2016 – Following the city of Montreal’s announcement   regarding a new proposed city by-law to address the issue of dangerous dogs, the Montreal SPCA is concerned about its plan to institute city-wide breed specific legislation (BSL).

Since the proposed BSL would only allow dog owners who currently already have a “pit bull” type dog to keep their dog once the law comes into force, any new adoption of this type of dog from a shelter would be prohibited. Yet shelters and pounds would continue to receive abandoned and stray dogs who resemble the “pit bull” type dogs. Having nowhere to go, adoptable and healthy dogs and puppies would necessarily be sentenced to death.

“The Montreal SPCA is extremely concerned about the proposed BSL for a number of reasons, chief among these is the fate of dogs that will be entering our shelter. We really hope to be consulted on this issue which affects our community and members that we represent. We ask that city officials meet with us in order to find a solution to prevent the unnecessary deaths of countless healthy, adoptable dogs and puppies entering into our shelter”, explains Dr. Gabrielle Carrière, DMV, Head veterinarian at the Montreal SPCA.

Given that visual breed identification of dogs is highly inaccurate, even when attempted by experts, BSL is fundamentally unenforceable and entirely subjective.  Furthermore, BSL would be extremely costly to enforce – a cost that would be absorbed by tax payers in order to finance the confiscation and euthanasia of dogs, as well as the prosecution of responsible dog owners, not to mention the court costs related to the numerous legal challenges the city would be bound to face from citizens subjected to discrimination and harassment or who would be unable to determine whether or not their dogs are in fact subject to the BSL.

Though there are some interesting aspects to the proposed legislation, such as the mandatory sterilisation of all dogs and requiring breeding permits as of 2019, the proposal makes no mention of community and education programs, nor of minimum standards of care to ensure dog owners are not neglecting or abusing their animals – three key components of any effective dog bite prevention program.

The Montreal SPCA remains concerned about dog aggression and dog bites and will continue to propose evidence-based solutions to create safer and kinder communities, while preventing the needless death of innocent dogs and the inherent discrimination against responsible families of behaviorally sound dogs that happen to look a certain way.

The proposed BSL would not reduce the risk or severity of dog bites and thus would not serve to further protect the public. Instead, the breed- specific components of the proposed legislation would have devastating consequences for people and animals in our community, namely the needless death of hundreds of adoptable dogs and discrimination against responsible families that have sterilized, behaviorally sound dogs that happen to look a certain way.


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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