Like the Montreal SPCA, the Official Opposition at City Hall wants Fido to be able to take public transit in the metropolis. The elected officials of Ensemble Montréal will table a motion at the next City Council asking the Plante administration and the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) to allow dogs on leashes throughout the network within the next six months.
“This change in the bylaw would meet a need while allowing the STM to build customer loyalty. At a time when we want to encourage citizens to take public transit, it is counterproductive to have to own a car or take a cab to get around with your dog. For Montreal to become a truly pet-friendly city, this is the next step,” explained Aref Salem, leader of the Official Opposition at Montreal City Hall, during a press conference.
This initiative would indeed facilitate the travel of pet owners who do not own a car to green spaces, dog parks and veterinary clinics. A need that should be considered, knowing that nearly one in four Montreal households had a dog in 2020, according to the Association des médecins vétérinaires du Québec Quebec. This is without recalling that the pandemic has been accompanied by an increase in the number of pet adoptions.
One only has to look at cities that already allow them, such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam and London, to see that the experience is quite positive. A study by the Metrolinx Board of Directors, a government agency, of a pilot project to allow dogs on leashes on trains and buses in Toronto showed that the presence of pets had no impact on the risk of bites or on passenger satisfaction.
“It’s amazing how much a dog can make people smile, we see it now when we see a service dog. Animals have the power to bring us together, to get us talking to each other. It can help improve the atmosphere on public transit,” said Effie Giannou, City Councillor for the Bordeaux-Cartierville district.
To ensure a healthy cohabitation, the motion to be tabled by the Official Opposition calls for the deployment of an awareness and communication campaign. Several other solutions are also possible to accommodate all users, such as restricting the presence of dogs to certain cars or limiting the hours at which they are accepted.
More than 16,500 people have signed the Montreal SPCA’s “Fido veut prendre le métro” petition asking the Plante administration and the chairman of the STM’s board of directors to allow dogs on a leash on public transit.