Confusion and frustration as Montrealers try to register pit bulls ahead of deadline

With only days remaining before the March 31 deadline, some Montreal dog owners are still trying to figure out whether their dogs are even considered pit bulls under the city's new rules.

Gena Kona-Mancini is one of many Montrealers who has been trying to get her dogs to a pit bull identification clinic to see if they qualify under the city bylaw, under which all owners of pit-bulls and and pit-bull type dogs need to be registered by the end of the month.

But the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce resident, who owns two rescues and isn't certain of their breed, said the clincs fill up fast.

"I tried to attend an ID clinic and they were all full," she told CBC Montreal's Homerun.

She added that the dates and times for the clinics were not easy to find on the city's website, which only listed registration appointments. 

If they don't get the special permits in time, owners could be slapped with $700 fines or even have their dogs seized by animal control.

'You better register'

City spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said people unsure about the breed of their dog should consult a veterinarian or breeder.

"If you love your dog, [and] you're pretty sure it's a pit bull; you better register,"  said Sabourin.

Kona-Mancini, for her part, says she's called several animal hospitals and nobody is willing to sign off one way or the other. Ultimately, the city has final say over what is or not considered a pit bull-type dog under the bylaw.

​Kona-Mancini says she feels she's not being treated fairly as a dog-owner.

"We're giving them such a good home and we're raising them very well," she said.

"Actually, we're planning on moving. We don't want to be in the city anymore."

Getting a permit

Dog owners who need a permit should bring the $150 fee, a piece of identification and all documentation proving they owned the dog.

They can also bring the following documents with them or provide them to the city by June 1:

- proof of rabies vaccine from a veterinarian.

- proof of sterilization.

- proof of microchip.

The dates and times the offices will be issuing special permits is searchable by borough on the city's animal control website. 

The West Island SPCA has added an additional ID clinic March 29 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The city also has three remaining clinics in Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and LaSalle.

Pit bull regulation controversy

Special provisions for pit bull ownership in Montreal was a hotly contested issue last year.

The controversial measures came after a woman was killed in her own backyard by a loose dog which police said at the time was a pit bull.  

Following the attack, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre was adamant that new regulation be put in place to regulate dogs as well as dog ownership.

Those new measure include the special permit requirement for pit bull-type dogs, as well as the expectation that these dogs be muzzled when outdoors.

The rules also state that if a dog is deemed dangerous a euthanasia order will be issued for it.

That provision angered the Montreal SPCA, which took the city to court over the pit bull bylaw. It was suspended temporarily but the suspension was eventually overturned Dec.1.

In response, the SPCA announced they would end their dog control services in the nine Montreal boroughs they currently have contracts in on March 31 — in tandem with the city's permit deadline.