Last week on August 21, 520 Pit Bull owners were given a terrible ultimatum; re-home your dog, or have them taken from you.
A letter sent to citizens of the Canadian city of Montreal stated that hundreds of people would face legal action and the seizure of their dog if they didn't find a new home for them outside of the city, or give them up to a shelter. It said that they would have just 4 weeks to comply with the order.
This is the latest development in a story that has been going on since last September, when city advisers decided to ban several 'dangerous' dog breeds from Montreal. This included Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and dogs who were mixes of these breeds.
The new law, which went into effect last December, banned any new dogs and puppies of these breeds from entering the city.
Source: Reserved Rescue
People living in Montreal who already owned dogs of these types had to prove that their pet was sterilized, fully vaccinated and micro-chipped, as well as agree to having their dog muzzled when outdoors and kept on a short leash.
They also had to apply for a permit to keep their dog and have all their documents sent to the local government by June 1 2017, including a police background check for criminal records.
The 520 people who received the letter were told that they hadn't fully completed the paperwork required for the permit and that they would have to get rid of their pet.
The news has caused outrage and panic throughout the city with pet owners and animal activists alike. Along with the owners of these 'illegal' Pit Bulls, some of whom are now considering moving out of Montreal so that they can keep their furry family members, local branches of the SPCA are now bracing themselves for panicked people abandoning their pooches, leaving them in the hands of the already overwhelmed rescue centers.
SPCA Montreal's lawyer, Sophie Gaillard, told Global News that they might not be able to house the sudden influx of dogs, who will be difficult to adopt out since they are already considered dangerous and won't be able to be adopted locally:
We were completely under shock when we heard about this because we weren’t given any type of heads up. We are actually currently in crisis mode trying to figure that out.
Source: The Dogist
In addition, many families say that they had filled out all the necessary paperwork months ago and that this is the first they've heard about non-compliance on their part, says lawyer Anne-France Goldwater, who has asked that the government give Pit Bull owners another chance to save their pets:
These are people who claim and who are evidencing that they have filled all their documents and it would appear from what we're seeing that the city may have lost their documents. They've been told they have one month to get rid of their innocent, healthy, wonderful family dog for no other reason than maybe — maybe — a paper is missing in their file.
After dozens of complaints, Montreal's local government released a statement, saying that if anyone thought that they had been sent the letter by mistake they can contact their office, but that they stand by both the law and the 4 week deadline.
Despite significant proof that there is no such thing as “dangerous” dog breeds, Pit bulls and dogs like them continue to face unfair and incredibly damaging stigma.
Any dog can bite, but breed is rarely a factor in if they do. What matters more is how a dog is raised and how they are treated by the humans in their lives.
Source: Connor Pharris Niles
The hundreds of people who own and love Pit Bulls are proof that the breed itself is not inherently dangerous. Hopefully, as some cities start to remove their bans on these dogs, more people will realize that they are just as worthy of love as any breed.
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