At the end of July, the story of Wicca the pitbull made the rounds of headlines after the city ordered she be put down for allegedly biting two people. Now La Presse has delved deeper into that situation, offering a look at how the city deals with supposedly-dangerous dogs.
Wicca, a five-year-old female pitbull, was seized by the Berger Blanc pound after the city ordered she be euthanized for an incident that occurred on June 7 in Villeray. On a walk with her owner, Chris Papakostas, Wicca allegedly bit a woman passing by. While a paramedic came on the scene to treat the woman, Wicca also bit him, according to court documents. Despite Papakostas's protests that neither of the people needed medical treatment, the city ordered Wicca be put down. After appealing the decision, Papakostas could do nothing more and Wicca was put to death.
In the upcoming weeks, the legislation concerning violent pets is expected to change in Montreal. The city will allow pet owners to have a 24-hour period to contest any city rulings that determine a pet must be put down; previously, as in the case of Wicca, owners were given 48 hours. Whether or not an animal is considered dangerous is up to the discretion of individual boroughs.Regulations (PDF) state that it is the director of permits and inspections who ultimately decides if an animal is dangerous.
Speaking to Martine Painchaud, a spokesperson for the city, La Presse reports that now, if an animal is declared dangerous by a borough, the immediate sentence is death. The owner has 24 hours, in which they can hire an expert of their choosing to contest the sentence.
La Presse notes that in Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto, if a dog bites somebody, the case is brought before a judge. TheMontreal SPCA came out to express its concern with the current and upcoming legislation from the city:
Though the proposal establishes a review process for dog owners who wish to contest a euthanasia order, owners would only have 24 hours to obtain a behavioral evaluation, which is insufficient given the wait list for canine behaviorists in Montreal.
The proposed bylaws are to be discussed by the city in the coming weeks.