Nathaniel South with his pit bull Chester. Photo: Alex Hutchins.
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Ban was lifted after nine days, leaving questions about whether the breed will be outlawed

Montreal (CUP)On Sept. 28, Montreal City council voted to ban new ownership of pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs in Montreal. However, it only lasted nine days before Quebec Superior Court Judge Louis Gouin ordered the ban to be temporarily lifted until further discussion.

In the press release, Sophie Gaillard, a lawyer for the Montreal branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said, “We are particularly delighted to be able to continue finding adoptive homes for all of our healthy and behaviourally sound dogs, regardless of their physical appearance.”

Pit bull owner Nathaniel South said he’s had his pit bull-boxer and labrador mix, Chester, for approximately nine and a half years.

“I never had problems with him,” said South, addressing the generalizations about pit bulls that were made in Montreal after one incident this past summer when a woman was mauled and killed by a pit bull-type dog.

Vice president of the Concordia Animal Rights Association Katherine Millington said although an outright breed ban is “an inappropriate, emotional, unscientific response,” she does not completely disagree with the imposed laws.

“Spaying and neutering, as well as microchipping, will help to keep animal populations under control and ensure that lost animals get returned to their owners,” said Millington.

However, she said sources such as the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association have reported that breed-specific legislation is not an effective plan of action for dealing with fatal dog attacks.

“The individuals responsible for this legislation refuse to listen to the experts in this field (which) makes me believe there is some ulterior motive for the ban,” said Millington.

South agrees with the idea that pit bulls should be neutered and spayed.

“When they’re not neutered, they can be a very dangerous dog,” said South. “That’s why I don’t disagree with the rule.”

Millington said the breed-specific legislation has proved ineffective time after time. Citing information she obtained from the Montreal Gazette, she said, “In the last 30 years in this province, five people have been fatally attacked by dogs, all of which would fall into the husky-breed category.”

Millington went onto say that the stereotype around pit bulls is just a function of society’s propensity for mass hysteria.

“Every few decades a new breed is deemed to be particularly aggressive and is alienated.” She cited that, in the past, dobermans, german shepherds, and boxer terriers were similarly prosecuted and deemed to be an inherently dangerous breed of dog.

South went so far as to compare the stereotyping of pit bulls to the racial stereotyping he faces with the Montreal police. In his comparison he referenced times when he was stopped by Montreal police while walking home from a bar because he seemed suspicious to the officers.

“It’s almost like the same thing because once a pit bull (has done) something, they generalize it to all pit bulls and then all the pitbulls have to suffer,” said South. “In this world it’s all about stereotypes, people do things and then it screws up everything for everybody else and then you have to live like a caged animal,” he said.