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If you're a Facebook user or an avid reader of headlines, then you probably already know that an unspeakable law has come into effect in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
On September 27, 2016 a new law was passed in the city of Montreal that outlaws pit bulls. Whaaaaaat? I know, it seems ridiculous as so many of us have sweet and loving pit bulls that we couldn't imagine being viewed as "dangerous". But Montreal's government feels that this law is "justified."
The construction of this law follows a tragic death that occurred three months ago. Chrstiane Vadnais, a 55-year-old woman, was in her backyard when she was attacked and killed by a neighbor's dog. Officers shot the dog when they came upon the scene but it was too late. Vadnais had already died.
The response of her family was an angry outlash against pit bulls, as this was the breed of dog who attacked Vadnais. The Quebec government gave in and hopped onto the train of Ontario's pit bull law. The city is outlawing the adoption or ownership of new pit bulls, which is a scary thought for pit bulls that are currently in animal shelters around the city. It is not clear what will be done with these animals. The law will take effect on October 3rd, so it is still possible for people to adopt pit bulls to save them from being euthanized.
The law also states that while current pit bull owners are allowed to keep their dog, that a whole new set of requirements and regulations will be placed upon them. By the end of 2016, every pit bull owner but purchase a permit. Yes, a "permit", as if they were buying a parking permit for a car. This will cost a hefty $115. But that's not all. While there are reasonable requirements like vaccination, sterilization, and microchipping, there are also some other freedom-restricting requirements.When out in public, every owner needs to muzzle their pit bull and keep them on a leash four feet or shorter.
If you're thinking that these laws sound drastic and cruel, you're not the only one. The death of Vadnais was a horrific tragedy, and her family is understandably upset and wanting to prevent this from happening again. However, many are arguing that making these laws will not prevent tragedies like this from happening.
The reason many are arguing that is because of the argument that "all pit bulls are not bad." The problem in general with dogs is that it is nearly impossible to predict their behavior. Some dogs are more aggressive than others, and some dogs can just snap.
While many studies say that pit bulls and Rottweilers are almost solely responsible for human dog-bite fatalities, this actually isn't true. Pit bulls and rottweilers tend to get a bad rap because of their look, and oftentimes when people act nervous around them, they get nervous and bite out of this nervousness. It's all a cycle. But other dogs can bite just as much, and as dangerously, even small dogs like Jack Russell Terrier and Chihuahuas.
It's okay to mourn for Vadnais' family and still defend your pit bull. It's important not to judge a breed by its stereotypes. The law in Montreal might just not be suitable to solving the problem. Just remember that dogs can be dogs, and training them well, as well as keeping them leashed, is key to preventing tragedies.