Montreal's move to ban pit bulls has been causing controversy since September 2016, and the situation has reached an all-time low.
On August 21, the city of Montreal mailed out letters to around 500 local pit bull owners saying they have four weeks to get rid of their dogs. The letters suggest either rehoming dogs to areas outside Montreal or surrendering them to a shelter, but city officials made it clear that if the dogs aren't gone by the given date, legal action will be taken.
— Humber PR Committee (@humberPRcmte) November 25, 2016
The 500 letters explained to the recipients that while they met the March 31 deadline to apply for a pit bull permit, their applications remain incomplete. They were given until June 1 to provide proper documentation, but after a flood of pit bull owners trying to keep their dogs, the office in charge of processing the paperwork has been backed up.
Nathaniel Perl, one of the dog owners who received a letter, told the Montreal Gazette:
"I sent all the documents along with the police check on May 30. I didn't get an answer, so I called the city. They told me they'd received so many emails there was a delay, but they'd send me my [dog's] tag."
— Pibble Life (@PibbleLife) October 13, 2016
Perl's dog, Lily, is one of many dogs currently living in Montreal that may or may not fall under the city's vague definition of a "pit bull-like" dog. The original legislation dictating the ban states dogs that share physical characteristics typically associated with American Pit Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and their cross breeds will be included in the ban. Dog breeds are identified without expert knowledge, and it basically means every big dog with a large head and short hair is at risk.
Not knowing whether or not Lily fell under that category, Perl decided to register her as a pit bull just in case. He spent around $500 trying to comply with the city's demands and was shocked when he read the letter saying Lily had to go.
— Newsy (@NewsyVideos) October 3, 2016
Local animal shelters were also surprised to hear the news. They're arguing that four weeks is not enough time for responsible dog owners to find new living situations for their dogs. They predict that as the deadline approaches, more and more dogs will be abandoned by their owners in desperate attempts to avoid expensive fines and legal trouble.
Above all, dog owners are heartbroken at the idea of having to give up their beloved pets. Their dogs are part of their families, and many pit bull owners are planning to voice their objections and concerns at city hall. There's also a petition circulating calling for the ban to be repealed. You can sign it by visiting this website.
What do you think of the Montreal pit bull ban? Let us know in the comments below.
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