Before living in Montreal I travelled across the country quite a bit with my dog. No matter where we went people greeted us with stereotypical Canadian kindness. I had never really experience any issues with bringing my dog places, that was until I moved to Montreal.
We'd stayed in Quebec multiple times before, and although everywhere I've been in the province is amazing I've always felt uncomfortable whenever I decide to bring my dog along. So, I decided to look into the rules on pets in the province a bit more and talk with other dog owners in the city about the situation.
It turns out many locals agree, Quebec isn't the greatest for our pups. Sure, there's a few dog parks around Montreal, but there's so many more things you have to be aware of as a dog owner in the entire province.
First off, if you want to travel to one of Quebec's beautiful National and Provincial Parks with your pup you're totally out of luck. Most parks across Canada welcome dogs super warmly, only asking that you keep them on a leash when you're on trail. Other than that, every park I've ever been to has had tons of dogs joining their humans on camping trips... except Quebec.
Dogs are forbidden from parks in the province. SEPAQ says the reason for the dog ban is due to their efforts to preserve peace and tranquility in the park. This, in my opinion, is hard to make sense of. From my experience, it's dogs that are the most quiet in the park with their human counterparts typically being the ones making noise, leaving trash and disturbing wildlife.
SEPAQ also states that dogs aren't welcome in the province's wildlife parks as the canines have a strong desire to chase after small animals. Sure, dogs do love to chase things, but why not have a strict leash rule just like every other park in every other province in the country?
Yes, there has been an initiative recently to begin allowing dogs in the parks, but currently the pilot project is only being run at 3 of Quebec's 27 parks.
Even in those cases, dogs are only allowed at specific campsites and only during certain times of the year. Most of the trails in the parks still don't allow the dogs to enjoy them, so it isn't exactly a revolutionary plan.
Another anti-dog motion in the province that placed a lot of pressure on me personally when moving to Montreal is renting and the pet restrictions you will definitely face when living here.
Most places are totally fine with you having a cat or two, but even bringing up the idea of a dog will have your application trashed almost immediately.
The only time you can be guaranteed an equal chance at an apartment and also have a dog is if your pet is a service dog. Otherwise, it can be a very long and exhausting search to find a landlord that accepts dogs.
Getting fines in the province for dog possession is incredibly common. In fact, animal control is constantly patrolling Montreal to ensure every pet law is followed.
This of course is great, but it can seem just a bit frustrating when you're fined $400 for not having a registration tag on your puppy.
The main question here is... why? Why is Quebec so anti-dog, when the rest of Canada is the polar opposite?
Well, there are a couple reasons. Outdoor committees in the province are all about flora and fauna, and it's believed that dogs tend to cause an imbalance in those areas. This ties into what people despise about dogs and what really makes Quebec resent them: poop.
Yup, apparently quite a few people don't pick up their dog's leftovers in the Montreal. This becomes not only annoying, but pretty gross. The city has addressed the issue with a complete ban on dogs in many public areas.
Perhaps one explanation for such strict rules are Quebec's more visible European values whilst the rest of Canada has been pretty Americanized.
It's the "American dream" and a Western fad to have a family dog and allow them to join you on outings.
In Europe, particularly in France, cats are much more popular companions to have and if you do happen to see a dog they're typically a small toy breed.
Overall, it is pretty disappointing that such a great province has a major setback for dog owners. Let's hope in the near future the government begins to ease up on strict pet laws and catch up with the rest of the country.