Judge Extends Suspension On Montreal Pit Bull Ban Until Case Can Be Heard

Montreal's Pit Bull ban will have to wait while the new bylaw is being challenged in court by the SPCA.

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The temporary suspension means Pit Bulls can still be adopted and muzzling is not mandatory. DemureDragonfly/iStock/Thinkstock
The temporary suspension means Pit Bulls can still be adopted and muzzling is not mandatory. DemureDragonfly/iStock/Thinkstock
Stephanie Brown

A judge has extended a suspension of Montreal’s Pit Bull ban until there is a final court ruling on the Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ lawsuit against the city.

The ban was approved last week despite much outcry by animal welfare groups and Pit Bull owners. It was supposed to go into effect on Oct. 3.

Under the new bylaw, which passed 37-23, new ownership of Pit Bull and “Pit Bull-type” dogs are to be banned in the Canadian city. Those who currently own such dogs would have to obtain a special permit by Dec. 31, 2016, and follow other rules, such as keeping their dog muzzled while out in public, or else the dog could be euthanized.

And, if Pit Bulls can’t be adopted by new owners, shelters may have little choice but to euthanize the animals.

The Montreal SPCA filed a lawsuit against the city on Sept. 28, saying the bylaw would discourage adoptions and lead to more dogs being euthanized.

On Monday, Quebec Superior Court Justice Louis Gouin temporarily suspended the restrictions for a couple days while he considered the SPCA’s request to have them thrown out. He decided today to extend that suspension for as long as it takes for the case to be heard.

In his decision, CBC News reports, Gouin found the bylaw raises numerous red flags and merit further review. He said the definition of the term “Pit Bull-type dog” is vague and needs to be clarified. He also questioned whether the city has the right to order the seizure and euthanizing of such dogs who may not even be dangerous.

“This court has the impression that certain articles of the bylaw were written in haste,” his judgment reads, according to CBC News.

Gouin encouraged the city to “return to the drawing board” and revisit the bylaw, CBC News reports.

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