Judge temporarily suspends Montreal's pit bull ban as debate over the breed rages on

MONTREAL -- A controversial ruling in Montreal has some dog owners outraged. They have spoken out -- intent on defending a breed labeled dangerous in Montreal.

"The only dog to be on the cover of Time three times. Roosevelt had a pit bull. They were considered a nanny dog," a pit bull owner said.

The arguments failed to convince Denis Coderre, mayor of Montreal.

"When 38 percent of all bites are coming from pit bulls, there is a situation here," Mayor Coderre said.

There is debate over a new law banning those in Montreal from adopting pit bulls. The law imposes a series of rules on those who already own them.

Some of the rules include keeping the dogs muzzled and on a short leash in public, and a criminal background check for owners.

Punishment for breaking the rules could lead to an order to euthanize the dog.

But enforcing the rules is also a problem. Veterinarians say they have no obligation to put down healthy animals.

"Euthanasia was not intended for those dogs and the professional responsibility we have was not intended for this situation," Judith Weissman, veterinarian said.

The debate is an emotional one for pit bull owners, and has been raging since June, when a Montreal woman was mauled to death in her own backyard by a neighbor's dog.

Other jurisdictions have brought in bans. Pit bulls were banned in Ontario in 2005. Other Canadian cities, like Winnipeg have followed suit.

But some say banning the breed isn't the solution.

Some say these are generally good dogs -- and things can go wrong when they don't have good owners. The owner's behavior, they say, is what needs to be controlled.

A Quebec Superior Court judge temporarily suspended Montreal's pit bull ban on Monday, October 3rd -- the same day the new law was to come into effect.

The local SPCA humane society took the city to court over the ban.

Judge Louis Gouin on Monday suspended the parts of the animal control law that deal with pit bull-type dogs until Wednesday evening, October 5th while he evaluates the SPCA's request.

Montreal's city council voted 37-23 in favor of the ban last week. The law's passage forced residents to register their pit bulls with the city by Monday.