Lawyer Anne-France Goldwater says she's okay with CAQ's new dog rules

Outspoken Montreal lawyer and animal rights advocate Anne-France Goldwater says, she's okay with the new rules on dangerous dogs introduced by the CAQ earlier this week — for the most part.

On Wednesday, Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault unveiled the new rules at the National Assembly which, among other things, would give municipalities more tools to deal with potentially dangerous dogs.

Guilbault says there would be no specific breed bans, but the rules will insist dangerous dogs will need to be on a leash and wear a muzzle in public.

Goldwater, who has long campaigned against former Montreal mayor Denis Coderre's efforts to institute a breed-specific ban in the city, told CJAD 800's Elias Makos that's a positive step.

"I think that there was a difficult job the government was facing to balance everything they heard in public hearings," Goldwater said. "And for the most part, the balance is not bad. It's pretty good. First of all, they stopped targeting specific breeds."

Goldwater says she's especially pleased with another part of the legislation.

"The most important statement they made, and I'm very proud of them for saying it...the entity responsible for public security is the mammal at the other end of the leash."

However, the law also requires vets and other medical professionals to report serious mauling incidents to the government, and to have dangerous dogs involves in such incidents to be euthanized.

"They say if a dog has bitten in any serious way — and nobody knows what that means — they're going to kill the dog," Goldwater says. "And with 164,000 bites a year, we're not going to start assassinating hundreds of thousands of dogs every year."

Goldwater is still spearheading a fight to have a dog that mauled several people, including children in Montreal North last August, sent to an animal shelter in New York State, instead of killed off. That dog had been ordered euthanized, but in late March of this year, a group of lawyers, including Goldwater, filed an appeal, which is still pending.

The new rules would go into effect at the end of the month.