August 07, 2016 - 2:30 PM
QUEBEC - For all the talk about banning pit bulls in Quebec, an advisory panel convened to look into the fate of those dogs doesn't appear to be biting on a controversial call to prohibit the dogs.
There's no mention of banning the breed from a government-appointed advisory panel to look into the matter, according to recommendations in a draft document obtained by The Canadian Press.
That goes against what Premier Philippe Couillard and several senior Liberal government ministers have publicly been saying since June — that a province-wide ban on pit bulls in Quebec along the lines of one in Ontario may be the way to go.
If Couillard's government elects to abide by the recommendations in the draft document, marked "confidential" and dated July 29, there's no mention in them of a ban like Ontario, where pit bulls have been banned since 2005.
Instead of targeting certain races, the panel suggests a case-by-case approach and "pit bull" and "dog breed" aren't mentioned in the recommendations.
The group is recommending a law that would set conditions to owning dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs and would include an awareness campaign aimed at preventing dog bites and educating the owners of such dogs.
The group also recommends establishing a bite reporting protocol to gather reliable data on the number and severity of assaults.
In the 11 years since Ontario banned the breed, the province doesn't know whether the number of dog bites has been reduced because that data isn't collected at the provincial level.
Several Quebec municipalities including Montreal, Quebec City and Brossard have announced bans this summer after a string of attacks that included one death — Christine Vadnais, 55, of Montreal, was killed in her own backyard.
Some other Canadian cities, including Winnipeg, have banned the breed.
The Quebec panel is suggesting the province give municipalities the right to adopt more stringent rules than provincial law should they wish to do so.
The panel has until Aug. 31 to submit its report and recommendations to Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux, who has promised to move swiftly on the matter.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016