Pit Bull Ban Suspension Appeal Granted In Montreal
The city of Montreal will be allowed to appeal a Quebec Superior Court decision to suspend its pit-bull ban.
For now, though, elements of the bylaw pertaining to pit-bull-type dogs remain suspended. That means the dogs can still be acquired and adopted, and current owners do not have to buy a special $150 permit or muzzle them when outdoors.
In her ruling Thursday, Judge Manon Savard of the Quebec Court of Appeal said the city may appeal the Superior Court ruling on Nov. 25. The two sides will be given 30 minutes each to present their case.
Given that the hearing is soon, Savard said the suspension of the bylaw’s regulations concerning pit-bull-type dogs will remain in place until then.
“We’re not really surprised that the permission to appeal was granted,” said Sophie Gadbois, lawyer for the animal advocacy department of the Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which brought the lawsuit requesting the bylaw be suspended.
“But we are very pleased that at least the stay is maintained until the day of the hearing.”
If the city wins its appeal, the suspension will be lifted and the pit-bull ban will come into effect.
If the city does not win, the suspension will stay in place pending a court case on the legality of the new bylaw to be heard months from now.
Montreal’s new animal-control bylaw came into effect Oct. 3, but elements pertaining to pit-bull-type dogs were ordered suspended the same day in response to the SPCA’s lawsuit.
In his ruling, Judge Louis Gouin said the bylaw’s definition of pit-bull-type dogs was too vague and the ban would cause “irreparable prejudice” to dogs that are not dangerous.
Last Friday, lawyers for the city argued the suspension was invalid, saying muzzling dogs is an inconvenience that protects citizens and not an irreparable prejudice.
The city also argued that a law created in the interest of the public good can be suspended only pending further court hearings in “exceptional circumstances,” which did not apply here.
The bylaw was designed to phase out pit-bull-type dogs in Montreal in the wake of a fatal dog attack in June. The breed of the dog has still not been determined.
A Forum Research poll conducted for the Montreal Gazette last week found 49% in favour of a pit-bull ban, and 44% against. In a Leger survey taken in June, weeks after the attack, 70% of Montreal-area respondents said they favoured a ban