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New Quebec Animal Laws Require Vets To Report Dogs They Think Are Dangerous

"Never hesitate to denounce the behaviour of an owner who appears careless."
New Quebec Animal Laws Requires Vets To Report Dogs They Think Are Dangerous
  • Quebec animal laws are being updated so that it becomes mandatory for vets in the province to report any dogs they think could be potentially harmful to others.
  • The new amendments will go into effect in the upcoming months.
  • Find out all the details below.

The Quebec government has made another move to deal with dogs that have proven to be "dangerous" in the province, this time putting more onus on municipalities, as well as vets and doctors within the municipality, to uphold Quebec animal laws and maintain records of dogs that have bitten people as well as people who have been bitten by a dog. Minister of Public Safety in Quebec, Geneviève Guilbault, spoke about the amendments to the law at a press conference this week, detailing the updates and new procedures municipalities will be expected to follow.

This amendment works to offer a "minimum uniform regulatory basis, in all municipalities in Quebec, concerning dogs, dangerous or not," Guilbault explained at the press conference on Wednesday

Guilbault has been hard at work trying to come up with a solution to the previous Liberal government's Dog Safety Act since she came into her current position in October of last year. Since last May, Guilbault has been pouring over briefs from "various individuals, groups and organizations," who had much to say about the proposed changes to the regulations.

The hope is that, now, the amendments speak to all dogs across the province, regardless of their public perception as "dangerous" or not, and work to strengthen each municipality's "ability to supervise dogs in Quebec."

The amendments strive to better document incidents at the municipal level, which will then serve to provide better data regarding dog attacks across the province.

Under the new regulations, both doctors and veterinarians will play a huge part in keeping track of incidents and upholding the provincial laws.

Doctors will be required to report serious dog bites, and veterinarians will have to report any dogs that they believe could pose a public safety risk. 

Municipalities are still able to pass their own, stricter rules, as well.

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Guilbault admits, "we have to remember that we could have the toughest rules or laws in the world, and we will never be able to reach zero risks, unfortunately." This is why she is calling for vigilance in conjunction with these new amendments.

The solution, instead, relies on everyone to maintain a "healthy distrust of dogs and never hesitate to denounce the behaviour of a dog that seems dangerous to us, never hesitate to denounce the behaviour of an owner who appears careless."

The law still stands that "when there is a serious injury that is inflicted, euthanasia is automatic," Guilbault was sure to clarify at the press conference.

However, upholding penalties is still up to the municipality, and they will be given the opportunity to "impose other measures" as they see fit.

Veterinarians will be able to report "any injury or situation that is considered problematic or potentially dangerous," alongside the power to "make recommendations on how to deal with the dog or its owner or guardian." 

These recommendations include things like euthanasia, the owner no longer being allowed to keep the dog, or the use of a halter, "insofar as the choice of conditions imposed is proportional to the risk posed to health and safety," Guilbault explained.

The amendments go into effect on March 3, 2020.

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