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April 13, 2017

Humane Society International/Canada criticizes Quebec government intention to ban certain dog breeds

Proposed law is based on myths and false information

Humane Society International/Canada

  • DemureDragonfly/istock

Martin Coiteux, the Quebec Minister of Public Security, under the leadership of Philippe Couillard (PLQ), has introduced draft legislation that would give the government new powers to impose restrictions on certain dogs and their owners, including bans on specific breeds. The proposed legislation specifically targets pit bull type dogs and Rottweilers, as well as crosses of those breeds. Without scientific basis, the legislation arbitrarily declares these breeds as “potentially dangerous.” Regulations restricting the ownership of these breeds may be introduced later and the government announced its intention to eventually ban pit bull type dogs.

Ewa Demianowicz, campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada, stated:

“We are appalled by this senseless and archaic legislation that flies in the face of the best available science and expert advice. Breed specific legislation has been prohibited in 20 U.S. states because it is highly ineffective, costly and exposes governments and taxpayers to legal challenges. The proposed law will do nothing to increase public safety, and will divert public funding that could have been applied to proven solutions that would effectively reduce dog bites and attacks. Furthermore, it is highly irresponsible for the Quebec government to state its intentions on specific breeds when the province’s largest city, Montreal, is currently facing a legal challenge for that very reason.

“Laws that regulate dog ownership based on breed, type of dog or size stem from false assumptions and have been proven ineffective in all jurisdictions where they were implemented. Moreover, they have very real negative impacts on families, on healthy and behaviorally sound dogs, and on the community. To increase public safety, we need laws that apply equally to all and that promotes responsible pet ownership regardless of breed.

“We are calling on the Quebec government to amend the proposed legislation and remove breed-specific language in the draft law. Additionally, we encourage municipalities throughout the province to adopt a similar approach and reject policies we know don’t work.”

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  • There is no evidence that breed-specific laws reduce dog bites or attacks on people, and experts have found that no breed is more likely to bite than another. In fact, no jurisdiction has been able to prove that this kind of legislation has improved public safety.
  • Although Ontario adopted a province-wide ban on pit bull type dogs in 2005, since then, the number of severe dog bite related hospitalizations has increased.
  • Proper enforcement of laws that apply to all dog owners regardless of breed and access to pet services such as low cost spay/neuter and education have effectively reduced dog bites and attacks in other jurisdictions, like Calgary.
  • Twenty US states prohibit breed-specific laws.
  • The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec have clear position statements that do not support breed specific legislation.

Media Contact: Christopher Paré, 514 395-2914, cpare@hsi.org

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