EVERYONE AGREES: Dog bites are a real public safety issue. Much has been said about it. But as we try to find a real solution for our community, have we considered all the facts? That’s what the Montreal SPCA has done. And you can be part of that solution – together, we can create safer, kinder communities.

The facts on dog bites

Any dog can bite, regardless of their breed.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), it’s not a dog’s breed that determines the risk or severity of a dog bite, but rather the dog’s behavior, size, and, the vulnerability of the person bitten.
Unlicensed dogs are over represented in dog bite statistics.
Permanently chained dogs are 3 times more likely to attack.
Unneutered male dogs are involved in over 75% of dog bite incidents.
Neglected or abused dogs are more likely to be involved in dog attacks.
According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB), aversive training methods including verbal reprimands, physical abuse, and shock collars are associated with an increase in aggressive behavior.
Well socialized dogs who are regularly exercised are less likely to bite.

The truth about Breed-specific legislation (BSL)

From Mastiffs to German Shepherds, BSL has targeted over 35 breeds around the world.
BSL is ineffective.  
Experts agree, and studies show, that BSL does not make communities safer. BSL has not resulted in a reduction in the number or severity of dog bites. In fact, in some jurisdictions, the number and severity of incidents has actually increased after the adoption of BSL. For example, in Ontario, from 2005, when the province banned ‘pit bull’ type dogs, to 2012, the number of hospitalisations due to severe dog bites actually increased by 45%.
BSL is expensive.
Public resources needed to fund BSL are considerable. Tax payer’s money is spent on confiscating and euthanizing animals, and prosecuting responsible dog owners simply because of how their dog looks instead of being used to implement solutions that will actually prevent dog bites and make communities safer. Proper enforcement of existing legislation such as leash laws and providing access to community programs such low cost spay-neuter services have proven to be a more effective way to reduce the risk of dog bites
BSL is unenforceable. 
Visual breed identification is not reliable. Even highly qualified experts are not able to determine a dog’s breed or mix of breeds based on their appearance or behaviour. In fact, less than 1% of a dog’s genes determine their physical appearance. It is therefore nearly impossible to identify which individual dogs fall under BSL. Additionally, DNA testing doesn’t serve any purpose when a dog is a mixed breed, because there is no consensus on what percentage of a certain breed is required in a dog’s DNA to consider that dog as belonging to a specific breed.
What do veterinarians say?
L’Ordre des médecins vétérinaires du Québec (OMVQ): Research shows that BSL has no impact on the number of dog bites or attacks, but rather creates a false sense of security in the community. Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA): The CVMA supports dangerous dog legislation provided that it is not discriminatory of a specific breed. This legislation should be directed at fostering the safety and protection of the general public from dogs classified as "dangerous" or "vicious".
The growing trend around the world is to move away from BSL. 
More and more, countries around the world are repealing BSL after seeing how ineffective it is, including the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. And in the United States, more than 20 states prohibit municipalities on their territory from adopting certain forms of BSL.

A real solution



  • Enforce existing laws requiring dogs to be on leash in public places
  • Enforce existing laws relating to the mandatory licensing and identification of dogs
  • Adopt laws that prohibit aversive training methods
  • Adopt laws that prohibit the use of guard dogs
  • Adopt laws that prohibit the permanent chaining of dogs
  • Adopt laws to regulate the breeding and sale of dogs


  • For defining dogs as dangerous on the basis of behaviour and expert opinion
  • For filing a complaint or reporting a dog bite
  • For seizing, handling, and assessing dogs involved in dog bites or displaying aggressive behaviour


  • Large fines for owners of dangerous dogs and repeat offenders
  • Prohibition on animal ownership for owners of dogs deemed dangerous and for those who fail to comply with mandatory standards of care
  • Possibility of imposing conditions on owners of dogs deemed dangerous, including: mandatory sterilization, mandatory muzzling, mandatory behavioural consultation and training, or euthanasia
Now you know the facts. IT'S TIME TO TAKE ACTION!
  • Sign the Montreal SPCA’s petition (addressed to municipal and provincial elected representatives) Voir
  • Write to Mayor Coderre (see letter that will be automatically sent) Voir
  • New! Write to Minister Martin Coiteux of the National Assembly (see letter that will be automatically sent) Voir
58055 persons already took action.

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Write to your mayor (download sample letter)
Sources and references