By Max Harrold, The Gazette
Upset owners had plans to breed dog
Any way you look at it, the damage is already done when it comes to Bronx, a 11/2-year-old pit bull who ran away from his Verdun home and ended up at the Montreal SPCA, and was castrated -against his owners' wishes.
The dog's owners are peeved at the SPCA which, in turn, is annoyed that Bronx's owners's wanted to breed him -in their view, indiscriminately -and add to pet overpopulation. The SPCA says its contract with Verdun is clear: No stray can be returned or adopted before it has been neutered.
After Bronx ran away on Friday his co-owner Liz Leslie called the borough and checked local animal shelters' websites.
She found a photo of her missing pooch on the SPCA's lost and found website.
But even when she showed documents proving she owns Bronx and that proved she intended to breed him, the SPCA refused to return the dog without neutering him first.
Leslie said the SPCA would not give Bronx back to her until Monday. Yet an employee at the borough told her she could have her dog back intact, she insisted.
A spokesperson for Verdun could not be reached yesterday.
"The SPCA's whole attitude was just that 'We're doing this whether you like it or not,' " said Leslie, who owns Bronx with her husband. The couple was shocked to learn that the SPCA's contract with the Borough of Verdun -and with six other municipalities on Montreal Island - stipulates that all animals brought in as strays, whether or not they have a collar or microchip identifying them, must be neutered before they are returned or adopted.
Leslie said an SPCA employee told her "there are too many pit bulls in Verdun, anyway. We have a freezer full of dead pit bulls. Want to see it?"
Leslie said she and her husband were horrified. "How can you make an agreement with the borough about my dog, my animal?" she asked.
Alanna Devine, the Montreal SPCA's director of animal welfare, said compulsory neutering has become a condition for doing business with the SPCA's pound services. Newly signed contracts with Cote St. Luc, Hampstead, St. Laurent, Westmount, Outremont, Verdun and Lachine include compulsory neutering of strays.
The SPCA also has contracts with Montreal North, Montreal West, Ste. Anne de Bellevue and Dollard des Ormeaux. It hopes those municipalities will also agree to neutering strays.
"If you lose your dog you lose the right to own an unfixed dog," Devine said. "Montreal has a pet overpopulation problem. It has to be dealt with."
Pit bulls end up in animal shelters and people are reluctant to adopt the dogs because they have an unfair stigma attached to them, Devine said. They can be great, lovable pets, said Devine, whose own dog is a pit bull. The SPCA currently has 72 pit bulls available for adoption.