Montreal to fight Quebec BSL... but not in person

The National Assembly will begin public hearings on Bill 128 next week with one notable absence.

The provincial government's proposed law that would force municipalities to ban any breed of dog it deems to be potentially dangerous.

When the special consultations get underway on March 20 the City of Montreal, which just reversed its own breed ban, will not be there.

Animal lovers against breed specific legislation have been taking to social media criticizing the Plante administration's decision not to send someone to fight the proposed law in person.

Mayor Valerie Plante said instead of making the trip to Quebec City, her team will do as they did for hearings on the Highway Safety Code and marijuana legislation, send a "mémoire" detailing where it stands on the issue.

Plante said the brief will make it clear that the City does not support any type of breed specific legislation.

City councillor Craig Sauvé, the City's point man on animal control, took to social media to respond to those who are disappointed in the decision.

"Our position, clearly stated before and after the election campaign … has not changed," he wrote on Twitter. "We have put an end to the regulations that specifically target a breed of dog, and we will replace it with a regulation that will ensure the safety of all citizens by having a holistic approach which targets all dogs."

"For its part Quebec is conducting its own process, and we believe that their conclusions will follow along the same lines as ours."

Among those with plans to be in Quebec City and take part in the hearings is Montreal's SPCA.

"We are pleased to be invited to participate in the consultations on Bill 128 and eager to share our expertise on the issue of dog bites with the government," said attorney Alanna Devine, Director of Animal Advocacy at the Montreal SPCA. 

"We are entirely in favour of province-wide legislation addressing dangerous dogs, but Bill 128 must be revised in order to include effective, evidence-based measures that will truly reduce the risk and severity of dog bites and not waste taxpayers' dollars on measures that target dogs based on their breed or appearance. We want to see a province-wide dog bite registry, as well as strict prohibitions on dog ownership for those convicted of offences related to animal cruelty, animal neglect or criminal negligence causing bodily harm or death involving a dog."