But in early October, a Quebec Superior Court judge placed Montreal’s ban on hold — for now.
Those in support of breed bans believe it will keep people safer. Those opposed argue that banning certain breeds in cities and states does not reduce the incidents of dog bites or deaths.
In the United States, more than 30 states and more than 700 cities have enacted some form of breed-specific legislation that ranges from mandatory sterilization to outright bans on pit bulls and some other breeds, according to DogsBite.org, a nonprofit that supports such bans. Yet, officials from the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that no jurisdiction has been able to prove that public safety has been improved due to enactment of this kind of legislation nor have they found any proof that one breed is more likely to bite a person than another.
This issue is impacting professional pet sitters in Canada and the United States.
“I find that a breed-specific bans is a too-simplistic solution. We need to look at both ends of a leash, not just one,” says Carol Corera, owner of the Flying Duchess Professional Pet Sitting in Toronto, Ontario and NAPPS 2016 Business of the Year winner. “I find the ban challenging and questionable.”
Corera says that a breed ban has existed in the Ontario province for about 10 years, but questions its impact on truly making the province safer.
Instead, Corera favors legislature that focuses more on building responsible pet ownership and educating dog owners and children.
“My personal stance is that I won’t judge a book by its cover and I’m not going to judge a dog by its breed,” she adds. “Give each animal his individual right to prove his innocence. Be responsible and be committed to educating and training for yourself, the pets you care for and your clients.”
Corera knows that breed-ban laws put professional pet sitters in sometimes difficult and compromising positions.
“On one hand, you want to abide by the rules, but on an ethical level, you might find that declining to offer service due to that pet’s specific breed is a morally reprehensible act to you,” she says. “Remember, your role as a pet sitter puts you in an enviable position where you can be an ambassador for animals and a catalyst for change in your society if you so choose."
Breed-Specific Laws State-By-State
To learn more about breed-specific legislation, visit the BSL Census site at bslcensus.com. Here is a list of states that have enacted some type of breed-specific legislation:
• District of Columbia
• New Mexico
• North Carolina
• North Dakota
• South Carolina
• West Virginia
By Sarah Zumhofe