The canine population has skyrocketed in the metropolis since the start of the pandemic, and this has a direct impact on the number of reported bites, which exceeded 300 in 2022.
The number of dogs has increased by 37% since 2017 to reach 158,000, according to a survey carried out by the City of Montreal in December 2021.
Cats are not left out: they are 53% more numerous, or 353,000.
Nearly 50% of Montreal households have at least one pet, and 110,000 households have acquired a dog or a cat since the start of the pandemic, municipal data indicate.
According to the City, it is this increase, combined with the periods of confinement, which explains that there are more dangerous animals: since the beginning of 2022, 301 bites have been declared to the authorities, compared to 263 for the whole of year 2021, and 189 dogs with aggressive behavior were reported, compared to 152 in 2021.
Dog bites reported in Montreal
2022 (as of December 8) : 301
2021 : 263
2020 : 228
2019 : 251
Source: City of Montreal
“The confinement meant that the guardians, like their respective dogs, socialized little during this period. Several have had puppies who have little association with other dogs or people throughout their first months of life, and they have found themselves, for some, in situations where they hardly knew how to behave, “says, in a emailed response, publicist Gonzalo Nunez.
Currently, 124 Montrealers need a special license for their dogs, because they have been declared “potentially dangerous”. Guardians must therefore respect specific conditions (including the wearing of a muzzle-basket and a leash of 1.25 meters maximum). Twenty new dogs were declared potentially dangerous in 2022, compared to 27 in 2021 and 31 in 2020.
The city has ordered the euthanasia of six dangerous dogs in the past year, but its records indicate that two of them are “missing.”
A euthanasia order issued in 2021 resulted in a legal challenge that is still pending, granting the animal a reprieve.
In this case, involving a pit bull who attacked another dog, a Superior Court judge upheld the euthanasia order in a decision rendered last June. The biting dog, named Mira, inflicted bites on the back and head of another dog, Watson. Watson’s owner also suffered superficial injuries to his hands while trying to protect his dog. Mira was not at her first attacks, indicates the judgment.
The management of at-risk, potentially dangerous dogs for which an order of euthanasia is given cost the City $164,800 in 2021, but municipal officials are called upon to grant an additional sum of $15,000 for the custody of Mira for the duration of the legal challenge, according to documents filed for the next meeting of the city council, on December 19.
These services will cost $223,500 in 2023. Proanima, a non-profit organization with facilities in Boucherville and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, is in charge.
The Montreal Animal Control Patrol carried out 4,997 interventions and issued 417 statements of offense in 2022, compared to 554 in 2021, 756 in 2020 and 1,060 in 2019.