Montreal opens floor to citizens as animal control consultations commence
Published Saturday, February 24, 2018 4:48PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 24, 2018 8:55PM EST
If you have an opinion about how to control dangerous dogs in Montreal, it’s your turn to have a say.
The city’s series of public consultations, announced earlier this month, got underway Saturday.
The consultations come on the heels of Mayor Valerie Plante’s repeal of the pitbull ban and the muzzle bylaw put in place by the former administration.
The goal, says the Plante administration, is not to target one type of dog.
The city is now moving ahead with plans to revamp the bylaw, and focus on how to deal with all kinds of dangerous dogs.
With the reversal of the previous guidelines, city officials are relying on public input to help shape a new, workable series of regulations for pet owners.
The administration plans to start with these citizen consultations: Montrealers are invited to a series of four different public meetings between now and March 4.
There is also an online survey that requests citizen input on everything from costs of services like microchipping, how to reduce animal population, and fines for irresponsible animal owners.
Craig Sauve, who is heading this file for the city, said the survey has already garnered 7000 responses.
On Saturday, four round-table meetings were held in two boroughs – the first of the three full days of consultations that will take place in five boroughs across the city.
The city says there are about 110,000 dogs in Montreal and they want to focus on all of them.
While there are a lot of topics up for discussion, one that isn’t: a ban on any certain breed of dog.
“We don't want to make it about pit bulls,” said city councillor Craig Sauve, the spokesperson for animal issues. “(We want) a larger approach…. We know that Labradors bite, St. Bernards, we know that any type of dogs bite, really. How do we make better owners in Montreal?”
Sauve said that issue is no longer up for debate, and wants to reassure the public that all measures for dangerous dogs are still in effect. He said evidence didn’t support the previous administration’s pit bull ban, and pointed to the coroner’s report following the death of Christian Vadnais, who was mauled to death by a dog in 2016.
The report questioned the ban’s impact, and Sauve said there are other ways to improve public safety.
“It was one of the basic orientations we took to not just target certain breeds – it was the result of such reports that we’ve been reading in that regard. What it does say is we need data,” Sauve explained.
“We need proper dissuasive elements – fines and incentives – for people who go and want to get their dogs registered. Same for cats as well.”
The new, revamped bylaw would ideally be passed by June.