Since December 2016, Montrealers have had to abide by the new BSL by-law imposed by Mayor Denis Coderre. This breed specific law, known as “the bull shit law” amongst animal activists and most dog owners, is controversial. Therefore I decided to explore it some more and was quite surprised by my findings.
In all fairness, I truly understand the gravity of this situation but having looked at both sides of the issue. I believe this is a knee-jerk reaction coming from the Mayor’s office. Of course, everyone was appalled when Lucifer, a 7-year-old Pit Bull, killed a 55-year-old woman in Montreal after he had escaped from his backyard. The Quebec court pressed charges against the owner, but he was acquitted; a decision that I struggle with since the dog had lunged at bystanders outside a convenient store, bitten a cousin and was muzzled at home when guests came over. The owner had also asked the SPCA for help to reduce Lucifer’s aggressive behavior. Who is to blame? Is it the dog’s fault or the owner’s? In this case, it seems that the dog was at fault and was killed by the two police officers at the scene. In other cases, the owners were not so lucky and were charged with manslaughter and pleaded guilty to criminal negligence. Where do we draw the line?
Apparently by deciding that all the dogs that look like Pit Bulls have to have a license, must be muzzled outside the home, be neutered (therefore trying to extinct the breed); also no new Pitt Bull types are to enter our municipality. What does this mean exactly? Any dog that has a square jaw and a muscular body fit that description. Personally, I found that this by-law installed more fear than anything else. I will give you an example: I was at the convenience store with my Boston Terrier, and someone asked me why my dog was not muzzled? Here is a picture of my dog Tommy.
After more dog digging, I found that many municipalities that had enforced this regulation had REVERSED it because it was unfair, unenforceable and ineffective. According to the statistics in Canada, you are 18 times more likely to be killed riding your bicycle, but I don’t see any municipality outlawing bikes?
I believe that any type of dog can be dangerous and that each case we should treat individually. I used to own a Miniature Pinscher named Jack that was a lot more unpredictable then any Pitt Bull and I had to take special precautions to restrain him. There are roughly 500,000 dog bites per year in Canada and Pitt bulls do less than half of them. According to an article in the Globe and Mail by Stanley Cohen, some dog experts have stated that dog bites could be reduced by 89% if dogs received basic obedience training. Now that makes sense to me.
Please help to put pressure on the City of Montreal to stop the BSL enforcement. Many demonstrations are happening around the city and many organizations you can join to fight this ridiculous by-law such as Ma Voix pour Eux and the SPCA, for example.