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New dangerous dog law in Quebec now in effect

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In recent years, there have been several attacks on people by dogs deemed to be dangerous. In 2016, a Montreal woman was killed in her own backyard by a dog and in March of 2019, a jogger in the Eastern Townships was attacked by three dogs and severely injured. There have been many other attacks since – and it is clear stricter laws need to be in place in order to address the problem. Quebec’s new ‘dangerous dog law’ is now in effect as of March 3rd 2020 and whether it resolves the issues fairly, remains to be seen.

Back in 2016, under Mayor Denis Coderre’s administration, the city voted 37-23 in favor of a bylaw that outlawed the acquisition of any ‘pit-bull type’ dogs, putting strict regulations on owners. Despite all the controversy and protests and the fact a majority of those polled were against it, the bylaw came into effect on October 3rd of that year. When Projet Montreal won the election and took over City Hall, Mayor Valerie Plante kept her campaign promise and in 2018, overturned the bylaw. New animal control bylaws were put in place to prevent attacks that did not include the ‘pit-bull type’ breed-specific description, but rather ‘a dog that bites or attacks a human’ would be considered a risk.

In 2017, the Quebec Liberal party government proposed Bill 128, which would have seen the government ban a list of dogs considered ‘potentially dangerous’, including Pit Bulls, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers and Rottweilers. However, after a public outcry, they backed down and instead passed the Bill without breed-specific legislation as well. When the CAQ government took over the National Assembly of Quebec under the leadership of Premier Francois Legault, they tabled amendments to Bill128, giving all Quebec municipalities ‘a set of rules and the flexibility to adopt stricter ones if they see fit’. And now Quebec’s new ‘dangerous dog law’ has officially come into effect. Amendments to the law are not breed-specific and it will be up to veterinarians to declare a dog dangerous or not.

Under the new legislation, dog owners across the province are now subject to new rules. Municipalities are required enforce the province’s regulations, including ordering dangerous dogs to be euthanized – and they can also choose to pass their own stricter rules. With the new law, a dog deemed potentially dangerous must be sterilized, microchipped and have all their rabies vaccines up to date – and will need to wear a muzzle in all public places. You can find more details about Bill 128 here.

SOME OTHER RULES INCLUDE:

– When a bite is reported to a municipality, the municipality will need to order an assessment by a veterinarian to see if the dog is actually dangerous. The dog would also be prohibited from being alone with kids under the age of 10 without adult supervision.

–  If the dwelling they are in does not have a fence, or does not have a fence that will adequately contain the animal, other measures will be required. There must also be a sign warning people that a potentially dangerous dog is on the property.

– If a dog is declared potentially dangerous in one municipality, the ruling applies to the entirety of Quebec.

IF THE THE OWNER OF THE DOG DOES NOT ABIDE BY THE RULES:

– Their dog can be seized and they can be banned from owning or keeping a dog for a determined period of time.

– Depending on the infraction, the owners of the dog can receive fines up to $2,500. If they deter anyone from enforcing the regulation or give deceiving statements, the fine can be as high as $5,000.

–  Fines can also double if it applies to a dog deemed potentially dangerous.

The City of Montreal has published a list of over 100 dogs registered as ‘potentially dangerous dogs’ including the borough, postal code, the dog’s name, race and colour. You can find the list here

By: Bonnie Wurst – info@mtltimes.ca

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