Pit bull ban passes in Montreal

MONTREAL — Montreal, Quebec, is officially banning pit bulls.

Officials voted 37-23 in favor of the controversial law on Tuesday.

Under the bylaw, pit bulls cannot enter any of the 19 Montreal boroughs, and those that are already in the city must be muzzled in public, sterilized and microchipped. Owners will have to be screened for a criminal record and acquire a special permit, The Huffington Post reported. Those who don't adhere to the rules risk having their dogs euthanized.

"We're balanced enough to say that those who already have a dog will be able to keep them under conditions," Mayor Denis Coderre said about the law.

The law comes after a 55-year-old woman was killed in her backyard by a pit bull in June.

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Coderre said the law was drafted with safety in mind.

"My duty as mayor of Montreal is making sure I am working for all Montrealers," Coderre said. "And I am there to make sure they feel safe and that they are safe."

The Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals previously said it would stop providing dog services to the city if the ban was approved, and opponents to the law have said they will fight it.

"If the city of Montreal truly wanted to ensure public safety, it would not have forced a rushed adoption of controversial legislation, which is unfair, unenforceable, and, most importantly, ineffective," the animal protection agency said.

Councilman Guillaume Lavoie called the legislation "problematic."

"We have an administration that's moving away from evidence-based policy-making and entering the fray of politics-led evidence-making," Lavoie said.

Under the law, a pit bull is defined as Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers. American Staffordshire terriers, any dog with a mix of the three breeds and any dog that presents characteristics of one of those breeds, CBC News reported.

An amendment to the bylaw made Tuesday morning clarified that a pit bull's license can be transferred to another person living with an owner if the owner dies. A direct family member or a spouse can also assume responsibility of the dog in the case of its owner's death. The amendment addressed concerns that in the event of a pit bull's owner's death, the pit bull would be euthanized.

Read more at CBC News.