June 15th, 2009 by Editor
From The Call:
…[T]he Police Department has launched a campaign to persuade the City Council to impose strict new regulations on pit bull terriers similar to those in effect in Pawtucket and Central Falls. Capt. Kenneth Paulhus has compiled more than three years’ worth of reports he says show an alarming trend: Pit bulls are responsible for more dog bites in the city than any other breed, often causing serious injuries that require costly medical or veterinary treatment.
Paulhus, who took over as supervisor of animal control several months ago, has compiled a spiral-bound report as thick as phone book documenting all incidents involving pit bulls since 2006.
It’s a macabre inventory of maimings, dog fights, aggressive pit bulls euthanized by police gunfire and one account of an elderly woman bitten by a pill bull so badly she ended up in a nursing home.
“In 2006, the pit bulls accounted for 32 percent of all the dog bite cases in Woonsocket,” Paulhus says in the report. “The number increased to 37 percent in 2007. The year 2008 reflected half of all dog bites in the city were attributed to pit bulls. Many were serious.”
The statistics show there were 75 dog bites during the period in question, 15 of which involved humans and the rest other pets. Of the eight dog bites that occurred so far this year, three were caused by pit bulls, the report said.
Animal Control Officer Doris Kay says in the report that she used to think all dogs were created equal. But she says she’s learned that, “In Woonsocket pit bulls bite more often, and cause more injury, than any other breed.”
Invariably, says Kay, virtually all of the serious injuries caused by pit bulls involve animals that are neglected by their owners.
…The Police Department wants the City Council to pass an ordinance similar to that initially adopted by Pawtucket in January 2004, and more recently by Central Falls. The measure prohibits ownership of a pit bull except for those registered with city authorities before the law went into effect. In addition, the owners of lawfully registered pit bulls must carry no less than $100,000 in liability insurance and keep their pets leashed and muzzled in public.
The law would apply only to dogs recognized as the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier — all related breeds characterized by thick, muscular necks, a barrel chest and legendarily powerful jaws. All registered animals would have to be spayed or neutered to be in compliance with the ordinance. Scofflaws would face a fine of $250 for an initial offense and $500 for a second. A third could draw a fine of $1,000 — and up to 30 days in jail.
“It would increase the safety to city residents and the police by limiting the population of pit bulls to responsible dog owners,” says Paulhus.
Read this article in its entirety here.
Please contact the Woonsocket City Council here and politely inform them that breed-specific legislation in any form is unenforceable and ineffective.
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