Montreal's new pit bull ban puts thousands of pups on death row in the city's shelters

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NEW YORK (PIX11) — It's a controversial ruling in Montreal that has some dog owners outraged.

A law was passed this week that will ban residents from adopting pit bulls, also adding restrictions to those who already own them.

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Despite the outcry, it just wasn't enough to convince the city who overwhelmingly voted to pass the new law.

The deadly mauling of a woman earlier this year ignited the call for regulation.

Restrictions for those who already own a pit 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.

Learn more about the controversial breed:

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Shannon Johnstone, right, a professional photographer, has been taking pictures once a week of rescue dogs from the Wake County Animal Shelter since 2012 at the North Wake Landfill District Park off Durant Road in North Raleigh, N.C. Here, she documents Wezzy, a pit bull that is about 4 years old, with the help of shelter worker Diadra Cooley, Oct. 7, 2013. (Corey Lowenstein/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
A Pit Bull wearing sunglasses is seen prior to the start of in Albania's first Dog Show in Tiranas Sport Palace on June 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / GENT SHKULLAKU (Photo credit should read GENT SHKULLAKU/AFP/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - JULY 24: A pit bull looks out from a cage in the Liberty Humane Society shelter July 24, 2007 in Jersey City, New Jersey. According to animal shelter statistics, around one-third of all dogs coming into shelters nationwide are pit bulls, up from just 2 to 3 percent fifteen years ago. An estimated 40,000 people are involved in illegal professional dogfighting in the U.S. which often involves pit bulls. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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"It's opening up a door to a very uncomfortable place," Robert Haussman, a certified professional dog trainer based in Brooklyn, told PIX11 News.

According to Haussman, the Montreal ban will do more damage than good.

"You're diverting resources from the real problem," he explained. "If you have the opportunity to take those resources to educate the public on how to properly bring up a dog, how to properly raise a puppy [instead], that would be much more progressive."

Haussman, whose majority of clients have pit bulls, said the breed doesn't determine the dog's bad temperament.

It's more about if the dog has a bad owner.

"If you have an under-socialized golden retriever, lab, Chihuahua, whatever — it's going to be a pain in the neck."

Breed-specific legislation similar to the one that passed in Montreal is common across the U.S.

While no statewide ban on pit bulls exists in New York, the New York City Housing Authority does ban pits as well as Dobermans and Rottweilers in any housing under its control.

Several efforts are now underway to save those pit bulls from being euthanized in Montreal shelters including an online petition.

Local rescues here in the tri-state are also doing their part before October 3 — when the ban goes into place.

Find out how you can help.

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