WATCH: Quebec backtracks on province-wide pit bull ban
Province-wide breed-specific dog legislation is now off the table in Quebec City.
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux says the government will move ahead with its animal control bylaw, Bill 128 — but it won't target pit bulls, or any other specific kinds of "potentially dangerous" dogs.
The draft bill was introduced in April 2017, and originally included a ban on pit bulls and several other breeds, including American Staffordshire terriers, bull terriers, Rottweilers, and cross-bred or hybrid dogs. It was tabled in the wake of several well-publicized incidents of dog attacks, including the mauling death of a woman in Pointe-aux-Trembles in June of 2016.
But Coiteux came to the conclusion that opponents of breed-specific legislation have already arrived at — that no scientific basis exists for a ban on a specific breed of dog.
'If I had at least some support in the scientific community, I would feel much more comfortable to continue with that part of the bill," Coiteux said, "but we had absolutely no one who said this was the practical way of dealing with potentially dangerous dogs."
Coiteux also noted that during public consultations on the matter, cities were concerned about enforcing rules based on certain breeds, because of identification issues.
Last year, Montreal's much-touted breed-specific ban was struck down by the courts for the same reason.
Coiteux, meanwhile, isn't abandoning Bill 128 entirely. He continues to propose tough new rules aimed at protecting people from dangerous dogs — they just won't target specific breeds.
Alanna Devine with Montreal's SPCA, which led the opposition against Montreal's proposed pit bull rules, says she's pleased that Quebec has abandoned plans for breed-specific legislation, but is also pleased that the proposed new rules will also target those who breed and raise animals.
"We're certainly very pleased about that," she says. "We know, for example, that dogs who are permanently chained and not socialized are three times more likely to bite."