• John Jantak

Vaudreuil-Dorion says no to pit bull ban


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon said the city is working on adopting a revised by-law by December that would hold owners responsible for the behaviour of their dogs.

Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon announced that the city will not ban pit bulls or any other dog breeds considered dangerous after being asked by residents about its stance during the Monday evening council meeting on October 3.

The issue was raised by resident Laura Shanahan, a pit bull owner who has lived in Vaudreuil-Dorion for more than two years. She expressed concern that the city would pass a similar by-law that was adopted by the City of Montreal before being suspended by a Quebec Superior Court judge.

Montreal’s controversial initiative forbids dog owners from acquiring new pit bulls and requires current owners to always keep their dogs muzzled and leashed whenever they are outside in public. The by-law was enacted in response to a woman in Pointe-aux-Trembles who was mauled to death in June. Though the death was originally attributed to a pit bull, recent reports state it was, in fact, a Boxer.

Instead of banning specific breeds, Pilon said the city is considering adopting a by-law similar to the one in Calgary which places the onus on dog owners and makes them responsible for controlling their pets at all times.

He added that the banning of pit bulls will only entice people who want aggressive dogs to seek out other breeds which could result in those types of breeds to be eventually banned as well.

“You can’t just talk about the pit bull,” said Pilon. “The fact is we have to work on something which will be good for every type of dog. The main issue is to remain professional and to see how the matter has been handled elsewhere and Calgary is a perfect example. There have also been reports that in places where the pit bull has been banned, it hasn’t reduced the number of incidents.”

Shanahan told Your Local Journal that the mayor’s response was music to her ears. “I am very pleased to have such a wonderful mayor,” said Shanahan. “He has gone above and beyond what I expected and he’s made me very happy.

“He’s looking at facts, scientific data and the Calgary model which is very successful. It’s not about one or two bad breeds but about the owners. It’s nice that I have a pit bull and he’s welcomed by the mayor,” Shanahan added.

Resident Andrea Boudrias who moved to the city just over two months ago also welcomed the announcement. “I’ve been so stressed out and my husband and I have been sick with worry,” said Boudrias. “I can’t explain how happy I am.”

The city has held one meeting so far with representatives from the SPCA, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), a veterinarian and a kennel owner/dog catcher to discuss the issue and expects council to approve an amended by-law by December as work continues on drafting a suitable by-law.

“There’s one thing for sure – it’s unanimous that we don’t want to ban any kind of dog. Instead, we want to act on the fact that the owners have to be responsible for the behaviour of their dogs,” said Pilon.

He added that adoption of a revised municipal pet by-law will be contingent on the adoption of proposed new provincial regulations to deal with the matter. “The fact is that if the Quebec government decides to enact province-wide legislation regarding pit bulls, the city would have to abide to the new regulations. We cannot be less severe than what the government will adopt.”

PULL - “There’s one thing for sure – it’s unanimous that we don’t want to ban any kind of dog. Instead, we want to act on the fact that the owners have to be responsible for the behaviour of their dogs.” Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon

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