Several municipalities in Quebec, and the province itself are planning to ban or restric pit bulls and related breeds following a number of attacks in recent years, including the mauling death of a woman near Montreal last month

Several municipalities in Quebec, and the province itself are planning to ban or restrict pit bulls and related breeds following a number of attacks in recent years, including the mauling death of a woman near Montreal last month.
Photo Credit: CBC

Banning a dog breed: Is it a bad dog or bad owners?


Owners of the breed known as pit bull say the dog is getting a bad rap.

Several municipalities in the mainly French speaking province of Quebec either already have by laws in place, or are now planning to ban the breed.

Meanwhile the provincial government is thinking of introducing its own province-wide ban. This may not be a specific breed ban, but rather would ban or restricts so-called “dangerous dogs”.

Pit bulls, and related breeds are very strong stocky dogs. Pit bull advocates have countered a growing call for a ban on the breed by arguing owners should be punished instead
Pit bulls, and related breeds are very strong stocky dogs. Pit bull advocates have countered a growing call for a ban on the breed by arguing it is certain owners who are responsible for creating bad dogs. © istock

While there have been other incidents of pit bulls and related breeds attacking people, the latest concern comes after a tragedy in June in which a 55-year-old woman was killed in her back yard by a pit bull belonging to her neighbour. The dog had dug under the fence in Pointe-aux-trembles, a suburb on the eastern end of Montreal Island, and attacked the woman mauling her so severely she died from the wounds. Police called to the scene had to shoot the dog.

In and around Montreal several municipalities now have by-law bans on the breed in the works.

To the south of Montral the city of Brossard will vote on a motion next month to phase in a ban on the related breeds including; bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, and any mix of these breeds. The city mayor says their concern began when an eight-year-old girl was severly bitten in the face by a pit bull last summer.

“Pit bulls are not mean dogs. It is their owners who make all the difference.owner

Another city just outside of Montreal, Longueuil, voted to ban pit bull breeds this week.  Current owners in that city must licence their dog by October of this year,  have the dog sterilized and microchipped, have the animal checked by a veterinarian and certified as safe: kept out of dog parks,  always on a leash and muzzled, and walked only by people over the age of 18.

Many of the Petey, or Pete the pup, dogs seen in most of the Our Gang/Little Rascals comedy films in the late 1920 and through the 1930’s was a pit bull
Many of the Petey, or Pete the pup, dogs seen in most of the Our Gang/Little Rascals comedy films in the late 1920’s and through the 1930’s, was a pit bull ©

Quebec City had proposed a ban and an obligation for owners to get rid of their pit bulls within six months

There has been very strong reaction from owners concerned about having to get rid of their pets.

Quoted by the CBC, long-term Quebec City resident and dog owner Dave Dupont, pleaded with the mayor to reconsider the decision.  “Pit bulls are not mean dogs,” Dupont said. “It is their owners who make all the difference.”

The famous listening dog *Nipper* the symbol of RCA records, Deutsche Gramophon and others was a pit bull, or pit bull mix, possibly with a Jack Russe
The famous listening dog *Nipper* the symbol of RCA records, Deutsche Gramophon and others was a pit bull, or pit bull mix, possibly with a Jack Russel ©  wikipaedia

Quebec City has since backtracked, and along with the city of Sherbrooke has decided to wait for a provincial ban,

Elsewhere in Canada , pit bulls are banned or restricted in several cities in British Columbia.   In Alberta the breed is restricted in the provincial capital, Edmonton, and in the cities of Grande Prairie and Brooks.   In Saskatchewan the breed is banned in four villages.

In Manitoba the city of Winnipeg banned the breed has been banned as far back as 1990. The towns of MacDonald and the Pas also have bans.   Ontario has had a province-wide ban on pit bulls since 2005. Two towns in Nova Scotia have banned the breed, and one town in Prince Edward Island.

In Regina, Saskatchwan, a group called Prairie Sky has offered to accept pit bulls from Quebec in order to save the dogs from being euthanized. Another group called One Last Chance Animal Rescues (OLCAR) located near the Ontario Quebec boundary, has already sent three pit bulls by plane to the Regina group.

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10 comments on “Banning a dog breed: Is it a bad dog or bad owners?
  1. Avatar John says:

    It is so sad to know that Pit bulls are now banned to some places.

  2. Avatar Mary says:

    Yep, Petie was several dogs because they bit the children.

    Bans work when enforced, and bans work well. Zero deaths by pit bulls is the norm where bans are enforced.

    No one who has witnessed a relentless mauling by a pit bull on another living being ever thinks of them as normal dogs again.

  3. Avatar James Duncan says:

    As for “bad dog bad owners”, it’s often both. Google “traits vicious dog owner”. Research showed that the participants scoring lowest on agreeableness — someone who is less concerned with others’ well-being and perhaps more suspicious, unfriendly and competitive — were more likely than others to prefer an aggressive dog. Compared with the owners of low-risk, licensed dogs, those who owned high-risk, cited dogs were more than 9 times as likely to have been convicted for a crime involving children, 3 times as likely to have been convicted for domestic violence, and 14 times as likely to have been convicted of crimes involving alcohol.

    Indeed, if you Google “pit bull maul” and view current news media stories, you’ll frequently see a criminal activity tie-in (e.g., drugs in the house, dog fighting, etc.). So it’s bad dog bad owner in many (but not all) cases.

    As well, search YouTube for “pit bull maul” to see a large number of videos demonstrating the power and gameness of pit bull dogs and mixes when attacking people, pets, and livestock.

  4. Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to May.25, 2013.
    By compiling U.S. and Canadian press accounts between 1982 and 2013, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animals 24-7, shows the breeds most responsible for serious injury and death.

    Study highlights
    Pit bull type dogs make up only 6% of all dogs in the USA.
    The combination of Pit Bulls, rottweilers, their close mixes and wolf hybrids and other Pit Bull Type Dogs:

    84% of attacks that induce bodily harm.

    75% of attacks to children.

    87% of attack to adults.

    72% of attacks that result in fatalities.

    80% that result in maiming

  5. Avatar David Gerrior says:

    Was it really necessary to use the following sentence? “…mainly French speaking province of Quebec.” I suspect you would have to be living on the moon not to know Quebec is largely French speaking. Even an international audience would know this esp. since the article appears to be written by RCI and your readership would be familiar with the make-up of Canada. Sorry, but once an editor always and editor! Hope you and everyone at RCI is enjoying the Summer (in the mainly French speaking province of Queebeck).
    Cheerfully, with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek! Dave

  6. Avatar Rene Albert says:

    It’s both!

    In the case of the pitbull dog, that’s the way he was bred over time and obviously inherited a seemingly unpredictable agressiveness. That makes him a bad dog, but its not the individual dog’s fault. And of course there are other breeds with similar traits…

    But in the case of the owner, he should know better and exercise the necessary care and control of the dog. In the event the dog gets out of control and attacks humans or other animals, in my opinion the owner is totally responsible and should personally become legally liable for the dog’s actions as if he had done it him/herself. The owner simply saying I’m sorry just doesn’t cut it anymore.

    In our society, people have a right to walk the streets without the fear of being attacked. So the threat must be either controlled or banned. If control is selected, then the owner must be subjected to severe fines, jail term if warranted, and the possibility of being sued for damages. If a ban is selected, then it must be carried out in the most human way possible. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula…

  7. Avatar Mia Johnson says:

    Two things about pit bull owners are important. First, not all owners are irresponsible – in fact, many are probably quite responsible and well-intentioned. But owners are rarely present during an attack, and if they are, can rarely stop an attack.

    There were 36 pit bull attacks in Canada in June. If you review the attacks on our site, you will see in virtually every case that either owners were not present or they could not stop the attacks.

    There is an enormous amount of evidence, both medical and legal, showing that sticks, baseball bats, chairs, bricks, knives, tasers and even guns have not been enough to stop attacks. When a police officer has to fire 4 or 5 bullets to stop a dog, there is obviously a problem that goes far beyond the scope of normal dog ownership. When a mother cannot leave her new-born baby for a moment to use the restroom without dogs killing it, or push a child down the street in a stroller without a pit bull attacking it, there is a problem far beyond normal dog ownership.

    The second thing is that owners do not train pit bulls to attack. The reason game men (pit bull fighters) use this type of dog in the first place is because it has a genetic predisposition to fight. Tens of thousands of people are involved in professional dogfighting, while hundreds of thousands participate in street fighting. The pit bull is the dog of choice for dog fighting for very good reasons. For the same reasons, they are not suitable as pets.

    For National Pit Bull Victim Awareness

  8. Avatar Julie Wall says:

    Why should public safety depend on how well someone raises their dog?

    There are irresponsible owners of poodles, beagles, greyhounds and I could name 300 dog breeds that will not lead to severely maimed or dead neighbors, pets and children. It shouldn’t be a death sentence for any of us to depend on all pit owners to raise their pit right. That’s impossible. I don’t care what a dog will do in the absence of a trigger. I care what a dog will do when people are imperfect as they always are. If you think it’s how they are raised, then they should be banned.

    Pit-bull type dogs are responsible for 95% of severe attacks on people, pets and livestock.