Can a Municipality Euthanize a Dangerous Dog?

In the News

In 2018, the borough of Montreal North ordered that a dangerous dog be euthanized (put down). The dog had bitten several people, including four children.

Decision challenged

The dog’s owner challenged this decision in court.

The Civil Code of Quebec states that animals are not “things” but rather beings that can feel and perceive and that have biological needs. Another law, the Animal Welfare and Safety Act aims to prevent animal suffering.

Prevention of danger

In December, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that the City of Montreal is allowed to apply its bylaw and euthanize a dangerous dog. The court decided that the bylaw respects the Civil Code of Quebec and the Animal Welfare and Safety Act.

The court stated that a dog can represent a danger, even though the law recognizes that it has feelings. Municipalities have the authority to take measures to prevent this type of danger. According to the court, euthanizing dangerous dogs is one of these measures.