What is the Montreal Pit Bull ban trying to accomplish? It would make it illegal to own any new Pit Bulls in their jurisdiction.
The proposed law states that if you currently have a Pit Bull, there will be new and expensive rules you must follow. Once the law is on the books, adopting a Pit Bull, Pit Bull mix, or any dog that resembles a Pit Bull, will not be allowed and all those in shelters will be killed. Of course they try to make it sound nicer.
This law was suspended by a Quebec Superior Judge on October 3rd, the same day it was to go into effect.
The SPCA, Montreal’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, has since filed suit against the city claiming the law goes against article 898.1 of the Civil Code of Quebec, which describes animals as “sentient beings”. Sentient is another way of saying that animals can feel, perceive and experience life.
As of right now, the ban is suspended until the SPCA’s law suit against the city goes to court.
UPDATE– As of Dec 1st, 2016, the Appeals Court overturned the suspension and the ban is now in effect. The SPCA said it will continue to fight “the discriminatory and punitive provisions.”
The Montreal Pit Bull ban came about after a woman was killed in her backyard. Though it is said city council leaders were already looking at enacting dangerous breed laws, it is technically “not known” what type of dog they were targeting at that time.
Is it Fair?
No, especially when the dog in question was a boxer and not a Pit Bull. But that’s the problem right? It can be so hard to tell what breed a dog is. This is why so many Pit Bulls get a bad rap because people assume they know a Pit Bull when they see one, but they are wrong a lot of the time. Have Pit Bulls attacked people? Yes. But so have many other breeds that don’t make front page news.
Dog aggression occurs with all types of dogs. It is not hard to figure out that the stronger a dog is, the more damage they can do. What we really need to focus on is why dogs are acting out to begin with. Are they starving? Are they scared? Are they in pain? When you have good owners, they pay attention to their dogs and make attempts to fix issues before anything major can occur.
Dogs cant tell us when they are being abused or starved, they act out in the only ways they know how. If we were focusing on the dog owner instead of the dog breed, we could start to eliminate these bad owners from having any more pets, and therefore, stop some of the actions we see and hear about on the news.
Who’s Really Paying the Price?
Other than the Pit Bulls themselves, it is the responsible Pit Bull owners. We are the ones who know what these dogs are about. People who dont have a passion for these dogs, or pets in general, don’t really care if a Pit bull ban is put into place. They should because taking away rights from one group is taking away rights from everyone, but I guess they dont see it like that.
The fact is, people who own Pit Bulls and live in areas that are enacting new discriminatory laws, will have to do things a lot differently if they want to keep their dogs. And much of that “differently” involves money they may not have.
- Insurance– Breed discrimination by insurance companies is on the rise. Insurers are refusing to write homeowners’ policies for people who own breeds that the insurance industry considers to be dangerous. Because of this, Pit Bull, or other targeted breed owners, are then forced to switch to a company that does not discriminate. Owners are told they may need to have at least $100,000 in liability insurance that would provide coverage if their dog causes any sort of damage to a person’s body or property. This is basically saying even though your dog hasn’t done anything bad, we believe he looks like he can, so you must pay for our fears. All of this just because of your dog’s breed, and this is just one step you will be forced to take.
- Adoption– Some families trying to adopt children can face problems they never realized if they own targeted dogs. In Massachusetts, the Adoption and Foster Care Unit of the Department of Social Services will not place children in homes with certain breeds of dog.
- Airlines– Some airlines discriminate and don’t allow certain dogs to fly, even though they are kept in cargo and not actually sitting with their owners on the plane.
- Additional financial costs Pit Bull owners face are mandatory spay/neuter costs, higher licensing costs, permit costs, and all the money they will spend building approved enclosures or re-doing fencing that is not high enough. Oh, and don’t forget the “dangerous dog” lives here signs and tags.
Do Humans Really Have the Right?
A National Pet Owner Survey done in 2009–2010 estimated that in the United States, 77.5 million people have pet dogs.This same survey shows nearly 40% of American households own at least one dog. Even with these high numbers and the many programs aimed at getting people to adopt rather then buy or breed, less than a fifth of all owned dogs actually come from a shelter.
Keep in mind that the Montreal SPCA takes in about 2000 dogs to their city shelters every year, about a third of them are considered Pit Bulls. That is 700 dogs, every year, that would be killed under this new law. If this law is enacted, in ten years from now Montreal will have killed 7,000 Pit Bull type dogs because of how they look.
Pretty incredible when you look at those numbers. And that’s just in Montreal.
People are responsible for the number of Pit Bulls that are on this planet. It is people who breed them, it is people who don’t spay/neuter their own dogs so they might as well be breeding them. People are responsible for the way Pit Bulls are viewed because some one years ago decided they looked tough. Humans are constantly trying to breed aggression into this dog.
Pit Bulls are loyal to a fault, that is why people use them to fight, they will not attack the handler. All these dogs deserve is a loving family but what do they get instead? You’ve all seen the ASPCA commercials, you hear about the fighting rings that get busted up in your neighborhood. You see the abandoned dogs on the streets and you know about all the dogs that get left behind at shelters. So again, what do they get? They get banned and the humans at fault are free to ruin another breed of dog.
Why Pit Bull bans are Wrong
I have read stories of people being attacked and/or killed and they are awful. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. However the fact is that if we don’t care for our dogs properly, ALL breeds will eventually act out in ways that could be very severe.
The dog responsible for this attack in Montreal was originally said to be a Pit Bull, however the Humane Society revealed the dog was actually a boxer. So, what would the Montreal Pit Bull ban have done to save this woman’s life? Unless they want to ban boxers too.
I know my Pit Bulls would never attack anyone, so does that mean I could say all Pit Bulls are like that? Sounds kind of ridiculous right?
But isn’t that exactly what Montreal is trying to say with their attempted Pit Bull ban? If THIS Pit Bull did that then ALL of them will? Keep in mind, it was a boxer.
It is not ok that this happened, but instead of looking at the breed as a whole and saying they are all bad, why don’t we look into what happened to lead up to this event? Ask questions like how was the dog treated, was the dog trained, was the dog fixed, was the dog in pain, had there been any issues before this, and most importantly who is the owner?
There are many things that could have led up to this awful event that we don’t know about, however they all relate to WHY the dog did it, not WHAT kind of dog it was.
If we want to stop these things from happening, banning breeds of dogs, or restricting every possible movement, is not the way to go. We know that sooner or later, there will be another breed witch hunt, and they too will be banned.
If dogs aren’t properly cared for they can act out in terrible ways. We have seen this with all breeds.
So what is the solution?
- We start making people responsible for taking care of the dogs they brought into their lives?
- People are forced to treat dogs as the living, breathing, feeling creatures they actually are and not objects they can kick down the stairs or throw out of the car?
- We start cracking down on animal abuse and neglect like it’s a real crime?
- We had an animal abuse registry so animal abusers have a much harder time getting dogs?
- We enforce leash laws on ALL dogs, like they enforce BSL laws, and see what happens?
- We HELP Pit Bulls instead of hurt them?
There are MANY ways to hold bad owners accountable but until we do, these horrible events will continue.
And banning one breed out of 187 won’t change that.
If you want to know more about the true character of Pit Bulls, check out The Champions DVD or the book The Lost Dogs, Michael Vick’s Dogs and their Tail of Rescue and Redemption.
So what do you think? Are dogs born bad or does their environment make them that way? Is it the same for people?