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Quebec tables bill aimed at tightening regulations on pit-bull-type dogs

People demonstrate about a pit bull ban in front of Montreal City Hall on Sept. 26, 2016. Quebec’s public security minister says the province intends to eventually ban pit bulls on its territory.

Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Quebec's public security minister says the province intends to eventually ban pit bulls on its territory.

Martin Coiteux tabled legislation in the national assembly Thursday to tighten the regulations on dogs that are dangerous, potentially dangerous or those reputed to be potentially dangerous.

Breeds outlined in Bill 128 that are reputed to be potentially dangerous include pit bulls, American pit pull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and Rottweilers.

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The legislation does not categorically make it illegal to own a pit bull but Coiteux said the Liberal cabinet will adopt a decree along those lines once the bill becomes law.

It is not known whether that will happen before the next provincial election, in October 2018.

Coiteux said a decree to eventually ban pit bulls will allow the government to act quicker as new crossbreeds emerge.

"The government will have the capacity to prohibit certain types of dogs...and that list may evolve in the future, because the government will be able to use new statistics, new scientific literature to update this list," he told reporters.

Once the bill and the decree adopted, there will be a grandfather clause for current owners.

Municipalities will have to euthanize any dog that attacks or bites someone and causes death or serious injuries.

They will also have the power to impose stricter regulations than contained in Bill 128.

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"It's not only a question of feeling safe," Coiteux said. "It's a question of being safe. And we think those minimal measures will ensure that, throughout the territory of Quebec, people will be safer. They will feel safer.

"Now, I understand that some groups will oppose those particular measures proposed in this legislation, but I think overall there's a broad consensus to go with legislation like this one."

There have been several attacks by pit bull-type dogs in Quebec in recent years, including one last summer in which Christiane Vadnais, a 55-year-old Montreal woman, was found dead after being set on by one.

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