On August 10th, the Worcester City Council held a public hearing on a proposal to require: additional registration for pit bulls, the muzzling of all pit bulls in public, signage on private property about the presence of pit bulls, notification to landlords and animal control re: pit bulls living in Worcester, and a limit of two pit bulls owned by any Worcester resident. The city council voted in favor of an amended version of this ordinance at their meeting on September 7th. The new version, which takes effect April 1, 2011, is available online.
Read articles about the issue:
Crackdown on pit bulls awaiting OK
Price of pit bull rules
Pit bull rules alarm shelter
Pit bull rules on hold
Pit bull rules - Dangerous-dog ordinance OK'd
Background: In February, we heard that the Worcester City Council was considering an ordinance modeled after Boston's, which would require muzzling of pit bulls in public and other breed-specific restrictions. We wrote to all of the councilors and the mayor, but didn't hear anything more for several months. Suddenly, without any stakeholder input, the Worcester City Council discussed this ordinance and gave it preliminary approval, pending a public hearing on August 10th and a subsequent vote and discussion in September.
The MSPCA believes that breed-specific laws are not an effective way to control dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs,
for many reasons, including:
1) This type of law does not impact dogs of other breeds who may be dangerous.
2) Such an approach unfairly brands all dogs of a particular breed, regardless of their behavioral history, as dangerous.
3) When communities concentrate their public protection efforts on specific breeds, they only address the dogs, rather than on dealing with the true cause of these threats to public safety: pet owner irresponsibility.
Communities can resolve conflicts with dangerous dogs of any breed in a humane and effective manner by enforcing existing dangerous dog laws. For more information, see www.mspca.org/bsl.