If you haven’t heard, Montréal voted in favor of breed-specific legislation this week. This is what it means for people who already own pit bulls, per CBC News.
Not mentioned in that particular article but elsewhere: authorities can enter someone’s property without a warrant to apply the bylaw, a dog will be deemed dangerous if it kills a toad or rodent, and all pit bulls in shelters must be euthanized.
I’m not going to present an argument against BSL. It’s been done. It’s been done to death. If that’s what you came here to read, thank you for educating yourself and please click here for what the Montréal SPCA has to say on the subject. But I’m not going to rehash what has already been said, because it’s clear we’re all wasting our breath.
It’s hard to put what I’m feeling into words. I have a seething mass of rage and bitterness sitting in the center of my chest, and it’s hard to think around. I’m not sure thinking about it would help, because I will never understand willful ignorance.
God, I feel for the people who have been doing this longer than I have, the ones who have literally devoted years to educating people and are still going to see dogs die because someone doesn’t like the way they look.
I’m beginning to see that cruelty, in all its forms, is senseless. For people against BSL, it’s not a matter of loving animals or being sensitive or advocating for some nebulous sense of “rightness” despite cost or consequence. This is not something that makes sense monetarily and simply offends my bleeding liberal heart. It’s not a “hard truth.” It feels like some people want to pat me on the back and sympathetically tell me, “Well, not everyone loves animals as much as you do,” but honestly, that is beside the fucking point.
If I have any naiveté, it’s probably in my assumption that most politicians got into politics because they thought they had something to offer the public. If they only wanted to be wealthy or influential, surely there are easier ways. If Montréal mayor Denis Coderre ever really wanted to be a public servant, he has failed utterly.
The bylaw for which Coderre so self-righteously advocated will not protect the residents of Montréal. If you think this is me pitching a fit because I like dogs more than kids, think again. Banning pit bulls is not a matter of choosing people over animals. What Coderre has done is choose a small but rabid group of anti-pit bull nutcases over not just the dogs, but the dogs’ families and the shelter workers and veterinarians who will have to watch and participate in the mass death of dogs who have done nothing wrong. Coderre has implemented an expensive, impractical, ineffective, inhumane policy based on the banshee shrieking of a few people as committed to their ignorance as he is.
To reiterate, if you’re imagining this was a well-thought-out decision I simply don’t like, think again.
So, just to recap, Montréal has no good way of telling if a dog is a pit bull, no idea who will classify a dog as a pit bull, no system to appeal such a classification, no way for resident to obtain a mythical document stating they have no criminal record, and the ban goes into effect Monday, as in, three days from now. If dogs weren’t going to die because of this, I would be laughing.
I can just imagine the city council members, chins quivering with the stress but prepared to defend their decision to those pit bull-owning miscreants, only to have a journalist innocently ask how they plan to actually implement their bylaw. The consequences of their vote? No, they hadn’t actually thought of that. A certificate proving someone has no criminal record? No, they hadn’t actually asked if such a thing existed. Look, all they want is for those unidentifiable dogs and their undesirable owners to disappear into thin air, is that so much to ask?
I’m not going to bring my own dogs into this. I can’t handle it. I can’t imagine my own dogs in this situation, and I shouldn’t have to. Frankly, a lawmaker should not be swayed by the precious, smiling face of a pit bull, because it’s the exact same emotional appeal the proponents of this bylaw made. They had no arguments or real numbers; they never do. They howl, “Tell that to the children who have been mauled!” and lawmakers are so goddamn stupid that they allow themselves to be driven to the desired response.
People like to say money is the root of all evil, but if Montréal’s city council members had had money on their minds when weighing this bylaw, it wouldn’t have passed. Instead, I can genuinely say that I think the dismissal of science is the root of all evil. Not quite as catchy, I know, but I’m hard-pressed to think of a social problem that doesn’t stem from people clinging to tradition, opinion, or fear rather than being open to the facts. This mindset needs to die before it kills us, and we need to hold accountable the leaders who perpetuate the thinking that facts are just another set of unpleasant opinions. Better yet, we need to not vote them into office in the first place. That’s what I’ll have in mind when I go to vote this November.