In this new podcast, panelists Vincent Simboli, Casey Rosner and Velma Candyass discuss the new breed specific regulation on dogs , the latest presidential debates in the US  and more in our News Roundup segment. Plus the Community Calendar and Predictions!

Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau
Production Assistant: Enzo Sabbagha


Vincent Simboli: FTB Contributor

Casey Rosner: FTB Contributor

Velma Candyass: Producer and star of the Candyass Cabaret


*Pit Bull and US Debate Reports by Hannah Besseau

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

UPDATE: Coderre’s plan was adopted by Montreal City Council with a vote of 37 in favour and 23 against on September 27, 2016

On June 8, 2016, fifty-five year old Christiane Vadnais was found dead, mauled by a dog in Pointe-Aux Trembles. Under pressure from outraged citizens, Montreal City Hall reacted, and on June 18th, Mayor Denis Coderre announced that he would ask the city council to approve a ban on new pit bulls. Ten days later, on June 18, 2016, Coderre’s office issued a communiqué detailing his plan to ban pit bulls and other “dangerous breeds” of dogs starting September 2016.

Coderre’s plan would allow existing pit bull owners to keep their dogs provided they sterilize them and put a muzzle on them in public. It also includes working with the police to sensitize the public to the ban and create “canine squads” to meet with pitbull owners and remind them of the bylaw. In defense of the ban, Coderre said :

“Responsibility for one’s animal is an obligation,”

In light of all the debate regarding whether or not certain dog breeds are more dangerous than others it’s time to take a step back and look at the laws regarding dog ownership in Canada.

In Canada, dog laws are a civil and municipal matter, meaning that complaints regarding dogs and dog owners fall under the jurisdiction of individual cities and provinces. In Quebec, article 1465 of the Civil Code says that:

“The owner of an animal is bound to make reparation for injury it has caused, whether the animal was under his custody or that of a third person, or had strayed or escaped.”

The law also says that anyone making use of the animal is liable with the owner for the damage it caused.

That means that if an animal – which could be a dog, cat, or even a tarantula – is under your care or that of a third party, you can be sued for any damages to property or harm to people or animals caused by that animal. The only way to avoid being held responsible is to prove that what the animal did is in no way your fault as an owner or guardian.

That could mean proving the victim didn’t take any reasonable precautions to protect against the animal’s behavior, showing that it was the fault of a third party, or that what happened was an Act of God i.e. the hurricane lifted your dog up and smashed it so hard against your neighbor’s house that it broke a window. The burden of proof in these cases is on the plaintiff, the one who claims your animal caused the damage, but this same burden is a lot lower. Unlike in criminal cases, all the plaintiff has to prove is that your animal more likely caused the damage and not beyond a reasonable doubt.

Municipal rules are another matter.

In the City of Montreal the current bylaws regarding animal ownership are very specific about owners’ obligations. The bylaws – which, while listed separately for each borough from Ahuntsic-Cartierville to Villeray-Saint-Michel- Parc-Extension, are all virtually identical – have a concise list of actions by animals that are considered to be public nuisances for which the owner can be held liable. As per the bylaws, nuisances by animals include damages to other people’s property, biting another animal or a person, and barking, howling or screaming loud enough to disturb the peace.

If an animal has caused a public nuisance, the owner is considered in violation of the bylaw. If you’re found guilty of violating animal control bylaws the penalty could be anything from a fine to your dog being put in the pound or even euthanized.

Fines range from one hundred to four thousand dollars depending on whether it’s a first, second, or third offense. If your dog is put in the pound, you can claim it in three days, providing you pay the pound fees.

A dog that bites people has to be muzzled in public for ninety days following the complaint. Whether a dog is put down or not is at the discretion of the City, which can order the animal to be euthanized if the authorities believe it is a danger to public health and safety. Once the order has been issued, the owner must bring the animal to a pound or vet to be put to death.

The problem with existing laws about animal control is that they only work after someone has gotten hurt. There are rules about leashes and muzzles but not everyone obeys them and police have better things to do than write tickets for dog owners. It is only when a child gets bitten or someone dies that the authorities intervene.

Coderre’s proposed change to existing bylaws is trying to prevent something that cannot be predicted. The notion that certain species of dogs are more prone to violence is highly debated, even outside circles of bleeding hearts.

With new evidence proving that the dog that killed Christiane Vadnais was not a pit bull and owners swearing to move if the ban is imposed, the only question that remains is whether the ban will go forward or City Hall will admit defeat and walk away from the proposed ban with its tail between its legs.

* Featured image: Creative Commoms

Podcast panelists Mirna Djukic and Cem Ertekin discuss Montreal’s proposed pit bull ban, the summer arts festival season and various news topics including Brexit, the P.K. Subban trade, the Three Amigos Summit and more. Plus interviews with pit bull owner Maery Morrison and Montreal band The Feedbackers, the Community Calendar and Predictions!

Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau
Production Assistant: Enzo Sabbagha


Mirna Djukic: FTB News Contributor

Cem Ertekin: FTB Managing Editor


*Pit Bull Report & Maery Morrison Interview by Hannah Besseau

*The Feedbackers Interview by Enzo Sabbagha

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

With Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s proposed ban on new pit bulls set for a vote in September, opponents of Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL) just caught a glimpse at how it may be defeated: through public outcry and protest. At least that seems to have done the trick in Quebec City for the moment.

Mayor Régis Labeaume had planned to get rid of all pit bulls in Quebec City by 2017, period. This was a much harsher move than Montreal’s plan to bar new pit bulls from the island and license and muzzle those that are already here.

Today, dozens (according to the CBC) of Quebec City dog owners and supporters protested outside of City Hall. Just a few hours later, Labeaume said that he had only been trying to start debate on the issue.

“We won’t eliminate pit bulls,” the mayor told the press, “we wanted to hit hard so things would move.”

Now, he seems content to wait for the results of a provincial workgroup on the idea of a province-wide pit bull ban. So pit bull owners in Quebec City and their beloved companions aren’t out of the proverbial woods yet, but the imminent, harsh law is off the table for now.

So is Montreal’s proposed ban also a fakeout designed to gauge public opinion? If so, then he Global Anti-BSL Peaceful Protest on July 16th is a good thing for opponents of Coderre’s ban to attend. In Montreal, it starts in Parc Pélican and makes its way to Parc Lafontaine.

Seeing as the Quebec City ban and the one in Montreal were both created in response to public fear, vocal public opposition may be the way to eliminate them and influence the Couillard Government not to pass one in the first place.

* You can also still vote in FTB’s poll on the Montreal Pit Bull Ban Poll.

* Featured image: Radio-Canada

UPDATE: Coderre’s plan was adopted by Montreal City Council with a vote of 37 in favour and 23 against on September 27, 2016

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is trying to bring in a pit bull ban by September. If the City Council approves, new pit bulls will be banned across the island and existing pit bull owners as well as the owners of a few other as-of-yet unnamed breeds will have to register their dogs, spay or neuter them and put a muzzle on them when in public.

Coderre’s move came about because of the death of 55 year old Pointe-aux-Trembles resident Christiane Vadnais. She was found in her backyard and police suspect she was mauled by a pit bull.

While the Montreal approach is not as harsh as what Quebec City plans to do in January or what Ontario has already done, it has quite a few responsible and loving dog owners understandably upset. While their argument against this ban may stem from a very personal place, their love of their companion animal or animals, there is less emotional argument against breed specific legislation like this:

Breed specific legislation does nothing to stem dog attacks because it’s bad dog owners who make their dogs violent and dangerous. We should go after them instead of arbitrarily punishing thousands of innocent dogs and responsible and loving dog owners.

The Montreal City Council will weigh in on this in September, but now it’s your turn to have your say. We’re launching a poll on this subject. You can vote in this post and on the sidebar of any page on this site.

Usually our polls revolve around pop culture distractions…like elections (sorry, not sorry). In order to liven up the mood, we usually include a few somewhat comedic choices (like voting for Stephen Harper, sorry, not sorry). That’s not the case this time. There are only three choices:

  1. Yes, you support the Montreal pit bull ban as proposed by Denis Coderre
  2. No, you don’t support it and are against breed specific legislation
  3. You support BSL but don’t like Coderre’s plan for it

So have your say below this paragraph and, if you want, explain why you voted the way you did in the comments. Also, please feel free to share this poll with your friends. Maybe your votes can sway our elected officials.

Do you support Montreal's proposed ban on pit bulls?

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* Featured image by Hugo A. Quintero G via Flickr Creative Commons