An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
THE PITBULL LOBBY says Montreal’s ban on the breed — which takes effect today (Monday, Oct. 3, 2016) — won’t work.
The other side of the argument says it will keep people safe.
The debate, it seems, will never end.
No matter how many pitbull attacks take place, no matter how many people are mauled and scarred for life, or even killed, defenders of the breed insist it’s no different or worse than any other.
The facts are these: the pit bull is an amazingly powerful dog, and often unpredictable. And while it can be argued that dogs such as Rottweilers and border collies are responsible for a large number of bites, the fact remains that pit bulls are responsible for many of the most serious attacks.
But should it be singled out? Will Montreal’s ban work? It depends on what you mean by ‘work’?
Other cities have tried banning pit bulls, with varying results. Winnipeg banned them in 1990; Edmonton banned them for awhile and then reversed the ban. Ontario has a ban on pit bulls that is enforced to varying degrees.
Obviously, banning a breed and enforcing that ban are two different things. Non-compliance makes keeping statistics difficult. Even if statistics were to show that dog bites went down after a ban, it wouldn’t prove that the reason was a ban on a particular breed, because other factors might play a part.
The pro-pit bull lobby condemns the Montreal ban, collecting thousands of signatures and calling for a boycott of the city. The Montreal SPCA has even started a legal challenge.
The Montreal ban doesn’t prevent those who already own pit bulls from keeping them but they must be sterilized and muzzled in public, and it legislates against new ones being purchased.
As a CBC story said in a story Sunday, every policy should have a way of measuring whether it’s working.
Maybe the ban in Montreal will do some good but certainly it won’t stop the pit bull lobby from condemning bans on their favourite breed, and those who decry the terrible results of vicious dog attacks from insisting that pit bulls are responsible for more than their share.