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Siblings attacked by dog as city set to adopt new animal-control bylaw


Montreal's mayor called on pet owners to take responsibility for their animals on Monday after a weekend dog attack on two young siblings that caused serious injuries.

Police said a four-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy were recovering from serious injuries to their head and arm, respectively, in two separate incidents on Sunday just hours apart involving the same aggressive dog.

The dog belonged to an acquaintance of the children's grandmother, who was watching the animal in Montreal North.

The attack came as Montreal city council is set to vote on a new series of dangerous dog measures focusing on owners as opposed to dog breeds, and imposes strict conditions on dogs that are considered potentially dangerous due to past behaviour.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante's administration has turned away from breed-specific legislation enacted by the previous administration targeting pit bulls, rules that were dismissed as ineffective in reducing dog bites and difficult to apply.

Plante said she's troubled by the Sunday attack, adding that the dog in this case will be euthanized given what authorities know.

"Of course I was troubled, my thoughts are with the family, the kids who got attacked," Plante said. "This is something terrible we want to prevent."

She also called on pet owners to take measures to supervise and care for their animals.

"It's really about making sure that dog owners — animal owners — understand that they are responsible to the entire population of Montreal," Plante said.

The city's previous administration enacted a pit bull ban in 2016 after a 55-year-old Montreal woman was killed by a dog in her backyard.

Plante's administration revoked the previous rules in December and introduced a new framework presented in June.

The Quebec government had also considered breed-specific province-wide legislation against pit bulls before backtracking because the available scientific data did not warrant going ahead with it.

It's unclear what breed of dog was involved in Sunday's incident.

Potentially dangerous dogs — those involved in an altercation or showing signs of aggression — could be subject to strict conditions under the new regulations, including muzzling, kept on a short leash away from children and must be owned by someone over the 18 with a clean record.

A dog classified as dangerous could be euthanized within 48 hours.

In Sunday's incident, the young girl was attacked inside a home in the morning and taken to hospital by family, but police were not called.

The dog was locked in a room, but subsequently escaped to attack the older boy outside.

Police said several people called 911, and one citizen intervened in the attack.

The animal was contained by police and given to the Montreal branch of the Society for Prevention and Cruelty to Animals.

A spokeswoman for that organization said the incident involved an "un sterilized, male dog" and the organization was awaiting further instruction from the Montreal North borough.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

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