This Week Lowell Passed a Pit Bull Muzzle Law, MSPCA Nevins Farm's Response
June 18, 2011

By: Sheri

Take a minute and think to yourself what first crosses your mind when you hear the word Pit Bull? For me I think of a strong, athletic, playful dog, that is so commonly misunderstood by the public. However, when I talk to people about the breed the images that pop into most people minds are far from the image I see.   So how did the breed that was once given the name America’s nanny dog, fall so far into the negative? Not long ago, they were prized for their loyal and gentle nature as truly a great family dog. So what has happened since then?  If you have ever hung out with a pit bull you’ll notice how magnificent a dog they truly are. First of all they are truly beautiful, overall they have an athletic build, sturdy and solid.  And their personality, well to me then tend to fall into a range from big ole goofball to loyal snuggle buddy.  I can see how many people are attracted to them and how sadly their best assets in the wrong owner can be used against them.  Yes I know you have heard this before but it is those irresponsible Pit Bull owners that have given this great breed such a bad rap. 

About one third of all dogs that the MSPCA Nevins Farm takes in are Pit Bull Terriers.  They are intelligent dogs that thrive in positive reinforcement training and can truly make wonderful companions.  One of the things we truly pride ourselves in at Nevins farm is our Pit Bull awareness programs. We acknowledge that there are many wonderful Pit Bull owners out there and we encourage you to help us change the current media face of the Pit Bull Terrier. Do you own a Pit Bull that is well trained and a great member of your family? Then tell people, have your loving Pit Bull become a true ambassador for the breed.

While Nevins farm is doing so much to try to change the image of pit bulls in MA to a positive one, sadly this week a breed specific legislation passed in Lowell, requiring Pit Bull Terriers to be muzzled in town limits unless they fall into list of exemptions.   The MSPCA and the Lowell Humane Society opposed this ban, however we do acknowledge the fact that the exemptions are a positive step.

Here is a statement from our MSPCA Nevins Farm Director Mike Keiley;
"We are disappointed that this legislation has passed because we
 believe strongly that if the newly adopted Dangerous Dog Laws had been 
enforced properly, many of these incidents with pit bulls would have 
been prevented. The newly enacted muzzle law would not have actually 
prevented any of the recent attacks where most of the bites/attacks were
 involving dogs that were running at large, unleashed. We also feel
that this regulation will do little to prevent future bites/attacks if 
an emphasis is not put on enforcement of all regulations pertaining to
dogs. We are however excited that the City has recognized a need for 
restructuring the animal control department and the MSPCA is more than 
happy to help with that transition. Additionally, we are working hard 
to try to live with this regulation and will actively work to offer
affordable opportunities for training and low to no cost spay/neuter so 
that pit bull owners can come into compliance with the current 
regulations or assist people in achieving an exemption for their 
well-behaved pit bull.”

The  rules and exemptions to the Lowell Muzzle Legislation are as followed and please also see the MSPCA response to each.

1. It is Mandatory to have your Pit Bull spayed or neutered. 
We are happy that there is a mandatory spay/neuter regulation as we believe the biggest issue in Lowell is the overpopulation of animals and more specifically of pit bulls.  We recognize there are a lot of irresponsible people exploiting pit bulls, specifically by breeding and selling puppies.  The MSPCA does have very low cost programs available through our Pit Pals program where pit bulls can be spayed/neutered for just $50. Pit Pals Spay and Neuter Info  Also, we will be having a FREE pit bull clinic on June 26th.  People can sign up by calling (978)687-7453 press 8 for an extension and then x6101 or they can apply online.

2. Pit Bull Terriers that have completed a training course by an accredited organization can become exempt to the muzzle requirement.
At the MSPCA we have many many positive reinforcement training options available for pit bull owners. Including CGC certification and basic manners courses. Please visit our  dog training website for complete details. The muzzling aspect is not something we support, but we encourage responsible owners to go through the training necessary to achieve an exemption.  If people need the correct muzzles, we have basket muzzles for sale at our shelter.   If people would like to go through a training course, we do offer affordable, professional positive reinforcement training at our facility in Methuen. MSPCA Dog Training Classes

3. Any Pit Bull at the Lowell Humane Society or adopted out from the Lowell Humane Society is exempt.
We’re happy that LHS has full exemptions so that their adoption programs for pit bulls will not be negatively impacted.
We will also be collaborating with LHS for some education opportunities for Lowell residents so they can understand the new regulations and find out ways that they can either be exempt or comply with the regulations.  We will be working hard together to help promote and get people to comply with the spay/neuter and training components.  We believe a lack of training and not being altered are two of the biggest factors leading to aggression.

Please help support the MSPCA and the Lowell Humane Society and their work to help the Pit Bull Terriers. We always have many great pit bulls available for adoption and if you stop into our shelter we will be happy to speak with you about the breed and have you meet one of these wonderful dogs for yourself.

Some of my favorite Pit Bulls available for adoption currently are Miley and Rhino, and here's their story.

Miley and Rhino are 3 year old Pit Bulls whose family had to move from their 70 acre farm and couldn't take them along. They are truly a bonded pair and must be adopted together. Rhino is a sweet big boy who is happy and playful, his family described him as dopey, and laid back. Miley is a lovable big girl who is mellow and quiet.  They are  both very good with older kids that are experienced with big dogs. Rhino would sleep at night with the 9 year old son. Miley would sleep at night with the 10 year old daughter. For commands they know sit, paw, down and go for a ride. They are both house trained and will scratch at the door to let you know they need to go out. Do you have a nice big yard and a family with lots of love for this great pair?


Here's their petfinder links Miley Rhino