A day after police shot one of two loose pit bulls they say “terrorized” an East Boston neighbourhood attacking a boy and killing a cat, Mayor Thomas M. Menino vowed to resurrect a city pit bull muzzling rule that will be fixed next month when a state law takes effect that bans breed-specific legislation.
“We’re going to continue to press for legislation that will deal with the issues of putting pit bulls in the city of Boston. … They do need a special law. … Pit bulls have that little strain in them that are vicious,” Menino said, calling it “ridiculous” that state legislators acted to override the Hub’s 2004 pit bull ordinance and similar lawsin Lowell, Winthrop and elsewhere.
The city’s doomed pit bull control law requires owners to register their dogs, muzzle them in public, post “beware of dog” signs and limit them to two per household.
Boston Animal Control Director Mark Giannangelo could not say yesterday whether the two pit bulls that escaped a Sumner Street apartment Friday were registered.
Bruin, the dog police shot, and the other dog, Max, which was corralled by cops, are being held until a city hearing to determine their fate, which under state law could be as severe as having the dogs killed or as light as having them returned to their owner.
Backers of the law that revamped state animal control codes, which goes into effect Nov. 1, argue Boston’s pit bull muzzle rule has not reduced dog bites.
“The ordinance is still in place and didn’t prevent this incident. Breed-specific ordinances don’t work,” said Kara Holmquit, the MSPCA’s director of advocacy. “To truly prevent dog bites, a comprehensive dangerous dog law that is well-enforced needs to be embraced.”
State Sen. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville), who sponsored the law and called Friday’s attack “horrible,” said there are provisions in the state law to deal with dangerous dogs that don’t discriminate by breed.
“I really want to protect people against dangerous dogs. I believe what we did is a good solution for that,” Jehlen said.
But City Councilor Robert Consalvo, who penned the city’s pit bull law and now may seek a home-rule petition to exempt the Hub from the ban on breed-specific laws, said a pit bull’s vice-like jaws and history of being bred as a fighting dog make it more dangerous.
“I get that poodles bite. But if a poodle or beagle bites me, I can defend myself,” he said. “A pit bull’s a much more aggressive attack.”