A proposal to ban Pit Bull dogs in the Canadian city of Montreal has been met with derision as hundreds of protesters against the ban on Pit Bulls marched in the city July 16, as part of a global day of mobilizing against breed-specific legislation.
In Montreal, the march has great significance. The mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, announced last month his intent to ban Pit Bulls and other breeds considered as dangerous beginning in September, according to the Montreal Gazette.
Event organizer Dana Hyde said that specific breed bans are unfair and do not reduce dog bites.
“You’re targeting the wrong end of the leash,” Hyde told the Canadian Press. “You have to go after the people, not the dog.”
Instead of banning specific breeds, Hyde told the Canadian Press that penalties should be tougher for irresponsible owners and existing regulations, such as keeping dogs on leash when out in public, should be enforced.
“If you look at any scientific studies, they show no dog is born inherently dangerous,” Hyde told the Canadian Press. “It’s the environment and upbringing that make the dog.”
Breed-specific legislation in Canada has had limited success over the last 26 years. Ontario province banned Pit Bulls in 2005, and the city of Winnipeg banned Pit Bulls in 1990.
The mayor of Quebec, Régis Labeaume, said in June that “In the next six months owners of Pit Bulls will have to resolve their situation, and that means getting rid of their Pit Bulls.” Labeaume later backtracked on that statement, saying he only wanted to start a dialogue on the issue of banning the dogs.
One protestor at Saturday’s day of demonstration in Montreal, Kerry Wyllie, told the Canadian Press that she is worried if a ban were to be enacted, many friendly and adoptable shelter dogs would be euthanized. Wyllie, who brought her 6-year-old Pit Bulld, Brinn, with her to the protest, said Brinn was abused at a puppy mill but is now the mascot of the dog friendly cafe and pet store where she works.
“She comes to the store every day and just likes getting treats and being petted,” Wyllie told the Canadian Press. “It goes to show it’s really the owner who is responsible.”