When I was in my early teens I had an after school job delivering the old Montreal Star Newspaper. One of my homes had a dog named Blackie. He was a small thing, but vicious and no matter how many times I begged the owner she continually let him outside without a leash. When Blackie saw me with two bags over my shoulders to carry the papers (like a postman), he went right for my leg, trying to bite me. It got so bad I was prepared to drop the route. Finally, the owner made an extended leash and kept him on their front lawn.
Blackie was a dangerous dog. I had approached our city councillor at the time. But she did nothing.
Fast forward to 2023. I am in my 18th year as a city councillor. For the past three mandates I have been responsible for Animal Protection. We have a Dog Owners Committee and a Public Safety staff, notably Manager of Operations Jean-Marc Dubois (a dog owner himself), in our corner.
Over the last few months Manager Dubois has been working with me and the Dog Owners Committee, chaired by Jonathan Goldman and Anna Katz, on strengthening sections of our by-law dealing with dangerous dogs.
Well, this cannot come soon enough. Just in the last week alone I have been alerted to some very disturbing incidents.
The owners of Pika were at the Dog Run on Mackle Road. Pika was attacked by another dog who rushed in and grabbed him by the neck and more. Pika needed surgery. The woman and her teenage daughter who owned this dog, driving a white BMW, reportedly took off. Thanks to some good old fashioned detective work, Anna Katz found out where the owner lives. The owners of Pika spoke to her. A police report has been filed.
“What kind of dog does this?” asked the owner of Pika. “What kind of woman runs from the scene? Pika is in excruciating pain. He can't lie down at all. Our dog though stopped breathing in surgery and needed to be intubated and revived. He has been in hospital since. “
For the purpose of the application of the present By-law, a dog can be declared dangerous or potentially dangerous if the dog:
a) has a propensity, potential or disposition to attack, bite, threaten, chase, or injure, with or without provocation, any Persons, property or other animals; or
b) with or without provocation or physical injury, attacks, bites, threatens, chases, or injures a Person, property, or other animal; or
c) has been trained for dog fighting or to attack upon a command
If you or your dog are the victims of a dangerous canine, please go to the police station on Westminster Avenue and file a report. Our Public Safety Department needs this to act. The by-law can even result in a dangerous dog being euthanized, which is not only very sad but almost always the fault of the owner who does not act when he or she sees the aggressive behavior being exhibited.
A constituent of mine just contacted me with another disturbing story. She says that her dog, a mini dachshund, was attacked by a French bulldog mix in front of the apartment building elevators. The dog, she said, needed to be rushed to the vet and treated. “My dog is ok, “ the owner said, “but his ear will never fully heal back together and he is on 14 days of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and other topical treatments. The other dog is known to be violent and aggressive and should not be living in a condo building with children and other dogs. At the very least he needs to be muzzled when in public and living in a single home with a fence."
Friends of the owner of the dog that allegedly carried out this attack have a different viewpoint, which they said they wish to share with me.
There is a police report, so when our Public Safety Department carries out its investigation that person and any other witnesses will be able to give their side of the story.
Today, another resident shared a story. She and her partner were confronted by a large black and tan dog of mixed breed. “ I was walking with my partner on that street when the dog, off leash, charged at us very fast from their front door onto the sidewalk while barking aggressively,” the resident shared with me. “The dog pushed us into the street and to the other sidewalk, as we tried to back away from the dog while it kept charging at us. We couldn't approach the house or speak to the owner because the dog was growling and guarding the property. The owner didn't come out and bring the dog back in for at least five minutes after the encounter, despite the loud barking. It was very irresponsible of the owner to leave their dog out at night, off leash, especially one who is as aggressive to strangers as this one.”
Sadly, there are many more of these disturbing stories and to the credit of our Public Safety Department appropriate action has taken place in every case where we had the necessary information.