Dog owners protest proposed animal control bylaw
Published Monday, August 20, 2012 6:24PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 20, 2012 6:58PM EDT
MONTREAL—Over 100 animal rights protesters set up in front of Montreal’s city hall on Monday afternoon to protest a proposed animal control bylaw that they fear could result in pets being put down unnecessarily.
Working off a document they believe to be a draft of the bylaw, the activists claim that the vague language could result in a dog being put down for biting or scratching someone.
“Already the animal laws that we have in place are pretty bad. This is making it absolutely unacceptable,” said Annie Primeau, a co-organizer of the protest.
Standing nearby, Sabryna Lamarche agreed.
“Innocent dogs are going to be getting killed now,” nodded Lamarche, who owns a dog.
According to the supposed draft, a dog would be considered dangerous if they caused “an abrasion to the skin.” Pet owners would be given 24 hours to find a pet behavior expert and file an appeal, or the dog would be slated for euthanasia.
While the City of Montreal won’t confirm what’s in the bylaw, but says new legislation is needed.
“Maybe the people [outside] are afraid about what we are going to have go into the document, so many of those people have been consulted,” said Richard Deschamps, one of Mayor Gerald Tremblay’s main lieutenants.
Despite Deschamps assurances, SPCA director of animal welfare Alanna Devine said she was not consulted.
“They absolutely need to consider other alternatives: muzzling orders, mandatory leashing and sterilization before considering euthanasia,” said Devine.
At a local dog park, some owners said they had heard of the proposed bylaw and were upset. They felt that punishing animals wasn’t an effective way of preventing dog attacks and that owners need to be held more accountable.
“I would never bring my dog close to children if I knew there was going to be a problem,” said dog owner Ian Segal.
“I'd like to see something where if your dog is nabbed by the bylaw or involved in the bylaw, that you have to go to some sort of mandatory training,” said Philip Maitliz.
Deschamps said that the city will be consulting the boroughs and animal experts before tabling the bylaw in the fall.