08/20/2012 08:39 EDT | Updated 10/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Biting By-Law Would Go Too Far, Dog Lovers Protest

Dozens of dog owners demonstrated outside Montreal city hall Monday, protesting against a proposed by-law that would give the city the power to euthanize dogs deemed dangerous.

The protest was sparked by the recent controversy surrounding a pitbull named Wicca, put to death in July after a judge concluded the dog had bitten a woman as well as the paramedic who came to her aid.

"Force me to have it trained, muzzle it, fine me — whatever. But euthanize a dog? There [are] other alternatives," said Wicca's owner Chris Papakosta, who insists the dog scarcely scratched the people in question.

The proposed city-wide by-law, which came to light during the Wicca case, would give dog owners 24 hours to appeal a decision to have a dog euthanized, to make a case that their dog isn't dangerous and to confirm they will find an expert to fight on their behalf.

Montreal executive committee member Richard Deschamps said the problem is that right now, each of Montreal's 19 boroughs has its own animal control rules. He said those rules need to be harmonized.

"This proposed by-law is absolutely ridiculous," said protester Chantal Boucher. "They're giving people only 24 hours in the case of a scratch!"

But other Montreal residents are less sure of what the city's approach to dangerous dogs should be.

"I don't approve of dogs being put down," said Lindsey Skeen. "But I have had difficult situations with my kids, where dogs have been around and have not been on leashes."

"Often it's just an accident [when dogs bite.] Dogs have been abused or have been annoyed by people or other animals," said Marie-Joie Renaud. "Then they're just defending themselves."