Montreal Homeless Man Charged $1000 For Having A Dog

A Montreal homeless man received a hefty fine of $1034 from an SPVM officer, all because of his dog. 

Guylain Levasseur, who is the proud owner of Misha, a large white canine, was given the ticket because a Montreal police officer believed Misha to be a pitbull. 

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Since Lavasseur doesn’t own a special permit to own a pitbull, as is required under Montreal’s new animal bylaw, he was subject to the over-one-thousand-dollar fine. 

Levasseur contested the ticket to the police, but he was simply told to fight it in court, reports Global News

Doling out such a huge ticket to a man who lives in his van seems a little unnecessary, as is giving the advice to fight the fine in court, since Levasseur won’t be able to get any mail regarding his court case nor afford to pay for legal fees. 

SOS itinérance, an advocacy group for homeless people, said this specific case has nothing to do with Levasseur owning a pitbull, it’s an act of profiling. 

Speaking to La Presse, a representative for SOS itinérance said the police gave the ticket to Levasseur because the SPVM doesn’t want to see a homeless man on the streets. 

This is the first pitbull-related ticket given out by a member of the police force and SOS itinérance says the average SPVM officer doesn’t have the necessary skill to be able to differentiate between specific breeds of dog. 

And they’re right. 

After an investigation by the Montreal SPCA, it was found that Levasseur’s dog Misha isn’t a pitbull at all. Misha is actually a Dogo Argentino, thus negating the $1,304 fine. 

Since this information has come to light, the SPVM has said it will withdraw the fine. 

Everything worked out for Levasseur, in the long run, but this particular story does highlight an inherent problem with Montreal’s pitbull-ban. 

An SPCA lawyer, speaking to Global News, thinks “this case really highlights what a mess this bylaw is,” explaining how even the SPCA doesn’t have the ability to immediately spot a pitbull on the street.