10/18/2012 08:51 EDT | Updated 12/18/2012 05:12 EST

Montreal wants new bylaw to deal with dangerous dogs

Some dog owners are baring teeth at the City of Montreal's new plan to improve animal welfare on the island.

The plan introduced today includes a new bylaw that would give owners whose dogs are deemed dangerous 72 hours to contest the order keep their dog from being put down.

An animal behaviour expert would have to clear the dog within the timeframe.

Amanda Gatti, a woman who was attacked by a pitbull, said the proposed bylaw would not make dog owners more responsible.

"If I would have had a child with me, that child wouldn't have made it," said Gatti. "He would have suffered major injuries."

Gatti was bitten on her chest, under her arm and on her knee. The aggressive dog also injured her Jack Russell Terrier.

The pitbull was put down a month later.

Richard Deschamps, a member of Montreal's executive committee, said "we have to access also the dog's behaviour and it's going to be done by an expert. After that, we will receive recommendations and the people responsible will have to make a decision."

Along with this bylaw, the city said it also wants to reduce the number of animals which are euthanized every year — an approximate 14,000.

A new $23-million municipal animal shelter will be built in 2014 to take some pressure off the SPCA and Berger Blanc, a local animal shelter.

Piper Huggins, a member of the municipal opposition party Projet Montréal, said "[the city is] talking in terms of $23 million, which is a much larger figure than we've heard up until now, and we'd like to know where that money is coming from."

In August, dozens of people demonstrated outside Montreal city hall to protest against a similar proposed bylaw.

The protest was sparked by controversy surrounding Wicca, a pitbull that was put to death in July after a judge concluded the dog was dangerous.

At the time, the bylaw suggested dog owners would have 24 hours to appeal a decision to have a dog euthanized.

At the time, Deschamps said the problem was that each of Montreal's 19 boroughs have their own animal control rules and that they needed to be harmonized.