NEWS
12/20/2017 11:25 EST | Updated 12/20/2017 11:32 EST

Montreal Suspends Pit Bull Ban, Will Introduce New Bylaw In 2018

Ex-mayor Denis Coderre's administration passed a bylaw in 2016 forbidding such canines.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Bless, an American Pit Bull Terrier, is treated to a free grooming session at Pampered Pets in Montreal, Sept. 25, 2016.

Pit bulls are once again allowed in Montreal as the Projet Montreal administration follows through with an election promise to do away with the controversial bylaw that banned them.

Coun. Craig Sauve, the executive committee member in charge of animal services, said Wednesday the ban will be suspended, as will several specific sections of the city's animal control bylaw pertaining to the breed such as mandatory muzzling and special permits.

"The pit bull-style dog will no longer be considered a dangerous breed in Montreal,'' Sauve said. "We'll have a global approach that includes all dogs and I believe it's the right approach for Montreal.''

A new bylaw will be introduced in the first half of 2018 after a vast consultation.

Sauve said the city will consult scientific experts, animal-behaviour experts as well as dog-owners and people who don't own dogs.

Projet Montreal has said the breed-specific nature of the previous bylaw was based on bad science and that it would proceed with a more humane one focusing on dog-owners and education.

Ex-mayor Denis Coderre's administration passed the controversial bylaw in 2016 and cited the security of citizens after a Montreal woman was mauled to death in her backyard by a neighbour's dog.

Separately, Quebec has tabled its own law to ban dangerous dogs.

We don't want to target one breed in particular.Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante

The pit bull ban was a key election issue during Montreal's municipal campaign this year, and Projet Montreal made repealing it a promise.

Mayor Valerie Plante said Wednesday she is in favour of a global approach in dealing with dog bites and that her administration has a responsibility to avoid creating a false sense of security among the population.

"What we want is to make sure Montrealers are safe (and) we want to prevent dog bites,'' she said.

"We don't want to target one breed in particular. What we've seen in recent months is the complexity in identifying pit bull-type dogs.''