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Montreal's unwanted pit bulls heading to Saskatchewan
An animal rescue group in Saskatchewan is importing pit bulls from Quebec, where the province’s biggest city is in the process of banning the breed outright.
Prairie Sky Dog Rescue in Regina has sent out multiple appeals on its Facebook page in recent weeks asking for Saskatchewan-bound flight passengers to bring unwanted pit bulls with them from Montreal.
Jon Clagget adopted one of the Quebec dogs that have arrived so far, a stray named Tyson.
Clagget said Tyson was three days away from being euthanized when a group called One Last Chance Animal Rescue put him on a plane to Regina.
Montreal is expected to ban pit bulls at a meeting on Sept. 26. Pit bulls purchased before that date would be legal, so long as they are registered by Jan. 1. The Montreal ban would also allow the city to euthanize any dog that bites or kills a human or other animal, regardless of breed.
The law was proposed after 55-year-old Christiane Vadnais was killed by her neighbour’s dog, Lucifer, in June. Both police and the dog’s owner believed Lucifer was a pit bull, although documents later showed he was registered as a Boxer.
Montreal’s SPCA cites the Boxer registration’s proof that a pit bull ban will not be effective. The SPCA says irresponsible owners should be targeted instead.
The Province of Ontario banned pit bulls in 2005 but recently said it doesn’t have statistics to show whether the ban has been effective at reducing dog bites.
Bill Thorn, from the Regina Humane Society, said that “there's really been no documented or proven instances of it where (breed-specific legislation) had the desired effect.”
The American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals also opposes laws targeting pit bulls, pointing to Winnipeg as proof of the bans’ ineffectiveness.
The advocacy group says Rottweiler attacks “dramatically increased” in Winnipeg soon after the 1990 pit bull ban, while total dog bites “decreased significantly” after the bylaw was replaced in 2000 to target any dog deemed dangerous.
Rottweilers were the second most likely breed to kill, according to a landmark CDC study that looked at reported fatalities from 1979 and 1996. The study found 70 out of 199 deaths from dogs were from pit bull or pit bull crossbreeds, while 31 were from Rottweiler or Rottweiler crossbreeds.
Researchers at the University of Manitoba studied Winnipeg’s pit bull ban and found that hospitalizations for dog bites went down overall in Manitoba after Winnipeg’s ban. They also found per-capita hospitalizations from dog bites were lower in Winnipeg than in the Brandon, Man., which did not have a ban.
With a report from CTV Regina