Commentary by Katrina Owens
Well, it looks like Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre won’t get to see his pitiful ban on pit bull and pit bull-like breeds go through. I like to think I played a minor role in spreading the word and in raising a smidgen of awareness for people that didn’t know what was happening.
As I write this, I fear readers will think I’m beating a broken drum or sounding like a broken record, as it were. But I truly think something of this nature can in no way be talked about too much because lives are still at steak. For now, the some odd 700 pit bulls who were awaiting their death can breath easy for the next little bit; though it’s certainly sad that they didn’t know they were within a 24-hour period before getting euthanized because of how they look.
It’s a shame I have to even write about this sort of thing; after all it’s 2016 for heaven’s sake. You would think with all the resources available to educate people on why breed-specific bans don’t work, something this like wouldn’t happen.
A great example of why these sorts of ‘quick-fix’ solutions don’t work is the Ontario legislature that was put in place around a decade ago. The ban against pit bulls was supposedly put in place by lawmakers as a way to tackle dog attacks. In an odd but expected turn of events, despite the hundreds of ‘aggressive’ dogs being killed, attacks have actually increased in Ontario since the ban was put into place.
Thankfully, for now the dogs still in Montreal shelters won’t be taking their last walk anytime soon. The bylaw (which got national and international attention) was passed last month and for those who don’t know, prohibits people from purchasing pit bills, and makes it so anyone that had a pit bull before the date of the bylaw passing, now needs a special permit and has to undergo a screening series. On top of paying $150 for that special permit, owners will need to have their dog sterilized, vaccinated, micro chipped and muzzled on a four foot leash at all times in public. The bylaw also stated that if pit bulls didn’t have such permit by Oct. 3, they would be seized from families and euthanized. The dogs already in shelters had no hope because the law was written in such a way that pit bulls already in shelters couldn’t be adopted, thus having to be euthanized by Oct. 3.
But as previously mentioned, humanity stepped in and saved those innocent babies from a death sentence. This makes me a happy, but there is some real work to be done in the world of breed specific bans. First and foremost, people need to realize it really isn’t the breed; yes certain ones are more attune for aggression, but if owners properly train their animal, attacks wouldn’t be happening. Instead of punishing the animals, why don’t bylaws focus on handing out consequences to the owners? Surely a fine, community service, and mandatory obedience classes are far more ethical than merely sticking a needle into a helpless animal and ending their life.