The controversial topic of breed specific legislation (BSL) always incites heated debates but for many Montreal pit bull owners, there is currently no time for talk, only for action!
Appallingly, more than 500 pit bull owners received letters from the City of Montreal last week advising them that they had four weeks to “dispose of their dogs” by finding them new homes where there is no BSL ban currently in place, or surrender them to an animal shelter.
The letters, which threatened legal action and seizure of the dogs if owners did not comply, were reportedly sent to people with “incomplete” files following the imposed deadlines.
Under the bylaw, according to CBC News, pit bull owners had until March 31st, 2017, to apply for the permit and until June 1st, 2017, to provide all the required documentation to fulfill their application.
“We should have been warned or given some kind of heads up before these letters came out,” Sophie Gaillard, a lawyer with the Montreal SPCA told the news outlet.
The Montreal SPCA has been fighting the ban since it was enacted last year and even sued the city, arguing that the new provisions targeting “pit bull-type dogs” were discriminatory, vague and unreasonable.
City of Montreal spokesman Gonzalo Nunez claimed that city employees had, in fact, previously contacted the pit bull owners to advise them that their applications were not complete and that the letters, which contained no contact information for people to respond to, were only sent following a “rigorous analysis” of each file.
“Shocked,” the Montreal SPCA posted the following advice, in English and French, to recipients on Facebook:
If you provided all the documents required of you by the City of Montreal before June 1, 2017, and believe that the letter was sent to you erroneously, contact the City of Montreal immediately by dialing 3-1-1 to request that your file is reviewed.
If you wish to challenge the City’s demand, even if you didn’t provide the required documents within the stated deadline, consult with a lawyer quickly in order to explore what your recourses are: – The firms of Grey Casgrain (firstname.lastname@example.org or 514 288-6180) and Goldwater Dubé (email@example.com) are offering a free initial consultation to recipients of a letter from the City of Montreal requesting them to get rid of their animal. – Please explain your situation in a detailed manner in your email and attach any relevant documents.
If you consider the way in which the City of Montreal is handling the situation unfair, make a complaint to the Ombudsman by clicking here.
If people are unable to challenge the City’s demand, the Montreal SPCA sadly suggests:
The best option is to keep your dog by moving to a territory where there are no by-laws targeting certain dogs based on their breed, mix of breeds, or physical characteristics.
The second option is to find a person whom you trust to look after your dog temporarily or permanently and who resides in a territory where there are no by-laws targeting certain dogs based on their breed, mix of breeds, or physical characteristics. Click here for some tips.
Another option is to send us a description of your dog, as well as a photo that we can post along with your contact information on our website of dogs available for adoption in order to help you find your dog a new family. The mailing address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a last resort, if you have exhausted all other options and are unable to keep or relocate your dog, you can surrender your animal to the Montreal SPCA if he or she was adopted at the SPCA, or if you reside in a borough that we provide services to.