Controversial plans to ban pit bulls in various municipalities across the province are being called into question after the revelation that the dog that killed a Montreal woman may not have been a pit bull.

A document obtained by the Humane Society International Canada under Access to Information laws shows the dog that mauled Christiane Vadnais to death on June 8 was registered as a boxer.

The dog’s name was Lucifer and the document is the dog’s registration certificate with the borough of Anjou. 

According to the document, Lucifer was vaccinated but not sterilized, which SPCA Montreal Director of Animal Advocacy Alanna Devine said was pertinent information to figuring out why the attack occurred.

"The information that is pertinent here is that dog was unsterilized, the dog was named Lucifer and the dog had previously been involved in a bite against a human," she said. "This is a dog that shown aggression but no one is asking questions about how this dog was cared for."

The proposed ban for Montreal is to include pit bulls and other dangerous breeds which are yet to be determined. The ban that was introduced in Quebec City specified pit bulls only.

Devine objected to breed-specific bans, saying "Focusing on one specific type of dogs doesn't prevent dog bites, doesn't reduce dog bites. This is a tragic incident but at least with this information we're starting to ask the right type of questions about how we can actually make our communities safer."

Veterinarian Enid Stiles called preoccupation with breed-related aggression unscientific. She noted that various mixes of dog breed can result in animals that look like pit bulls while being genetically different.

"This is such a typical story that we hear and it is a testament to the fact that we should be moving away from this breed-specific legislation," she said. "Because, in fact, pit bulls aren't even a breed, they are a type."

It is not unusual for dogs to be registered as different breeds, and municipalities rarely verify registrations. 

A pit bull that bit a woman in Ste. Adele in June was registered as a boxer-labrador crossbreed, even though its owner said it was a pit bull. 

The city of Montreal is expected to announce its new dangerous dog regulations in September.