MONTREAL — A Quebec judge temporarily suspended Montreal’s controversial regulation banning new pit bulls Monday and questioned whether the city overstepped its bounds in enacting the bylaw.
Superior Court Justice Louis Gouin heard arguments for a temporary stay and then authorized the immediate suspension of the pit bull-related clauses until 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
He is expected to rule before then whether the law should remain suspended until the legal case being mounted by the Montreal SPCA against it can be heard on its merits — a process that could be months away.
The SPCA was seeking the suspension of several pit bull-related parts of the animal control bylaw, which came into effect Monday.
The suspension means pit bulls can still be adopted and muzzling is not mandatory as had been planned.
The Montreal branch of the animal rights organization argued some of the bylaw’s provisions are discriminatory, unreasonable and unenforceable and will result in all pit bulls being penalized regardless of their behaviour.
City council voted last week in favour of the legislation, which included measures to prohibit new pit bulls on the territory of Montreal and place restrictions on those already there.
Provincial laws regarding municipalities say cities are allowed to legislate against errant or dangerous animals, but Gouin said Montreal may have overstepped the mark by placing an entire breed in a category described as dangerous.
Rene Cadieux, a lawyer for the city, said Montreal legislators believe reasons of public security give them the right to determine what is dangerous. They elected to create a category rather than go case by case.
“It’s sad, but it’s a legislative choice,” Cadieux said.