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Boston Officials Will Fight to Keep BSL

Boston Officials Will Fight to Keep BSL

City officials in Boston, Mass., got an unwelcome surprise after Governor Deval Patrick signed a new animal protection law that includes a measure banning breed specific legislation (BSL) throughout the state and makes the city’s current restrictions on pit bulls null and void as of October 31.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and City Councilor Rob Consalvo are all in a tizzy over the issue and are aghast that no one bothered to consult them beforehand. They plan to request a home rule petition that would exempt them from the state law against BSL.

“We know what’s best for the city of Boston ― not the 200 people in the Legislature,” said Consalvo, who authored the current restrictions.  “There was no consultation. They just passed it … and it’s going to be a threat to public safety.”

Boston’s “Responsible Pit Bull Ordinance” has been in place since 2004. However, the new state law specifically states that “No order shall be issued directing that a dog deemed dangerous be removed from the town or city in which the owner of such dog resides. No city or town shall regulate dogs in a manner that is specific to breed.”

“There is no evidence to support that breed specific ordinances work,” said Reginald Zimmerman, spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ Division of Animal Health. “The animal-control bill is designed to be breed-neutral and work on a case-by-case basis to prevent good owners and good dogs from being punished unfairly.”

Statistics don’t back up the claim that any one breed is more dangerous than another and unjustly target innocent dogs and responsible owners. In addition to the problems with misidentification, declaring a breed dangerous based solely on looks with no regard for their actual disposition is not an effective approach in regards to controlling dogs’ behaviors within a community or improving safety.

TAKE ACTION!

Please sign the petition asking the Massachusetts legislature not to approve any petitions from Boston officials seeking to circumvent state law and allow BSL, and instead support breed-neutral laws, in addition to focusing on promoting humane animal care, tougher penalties for animal abusers and education for the public on how to avoid dog bites.

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Massachusetts Bans BSL, Overhauls Animal Protection Laws

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Photo credit: stephskardal

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194 comments

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1:45AM PDT on Sep 24, 2012

My Father brought me up to realize that if I teased a dog, and it bit me, it was MY FAULT. At the age of 18 months, I hit our rescue dog with a toy car, while he was asleep. Result 18 stitches in my head. I have also been bitten by many different breeds, but it has never dampened my love for all animals. Instead it has taught me respect and I am one of those idiots who love to pat every dog I see. I have learnt to have a good look at their eyes, and so far, I have never been bitten by a dog for years.

I agree with the majority here, it is the owner and not the breed. So my conclusion; love all creatures and pay them respect, the same as seamen respect the ocean.

12:05PM PDT on Sep 23, 2012

I've been attacked by several breeds during my life: Dachshounds, Boston Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, but never by a pitbull. I love all dogs no matter what breed and I know from experience that an owner/handler is responsible for a dog's behaviour., not a specific breed.

1:32PM PDT on Sep 5, 2012

Jim M,
I'm really sorry you, and so many others, feel this way. Pits are loyal people pleasers, not genetic time bombs. I hope someday you have the pleasure of getting to know a bullie, your heart will be forever softened and changed.

4:56AM PDT on Sep 5, 2012

Don't forget any dog can be dangerous because of stupid owners!!!

4:54AM PDT on Sep 5, 2012

BSL is sad and stupid! A lot of the owners of these dogs have a bad reputation so don't blame the dog!

2:23PM PDT on Sep 4, 2012

BSL is simply that - BS legislation. It is racism for dogs. Maybe if we brought this up in exactly those words - RACISM FOR DOGS - then the politicians would get the picture. It is so sad that even when we get a victory in this area, we still have to argue with these morons who have probably never known an animal first-hand (or like Mitt Romney have never loved an animal although he owned a dog - yup, still dwelling on the fact that he took a road trip with a family member strapped to the roof of the car). If more people really listened to the facts instead of their own irrational fears then BSL would be obsolete. As it stands now, the people who want to take dogs and turn them into vicious animals through torture and starvation look for these breeds because of their reputation. And the people who have irrational fear of dogs in general focus on these breeds with their prejudice because of their reputation - so these dogs are getting all the bad from people from every direction - based on how they look. Did I say this yet? This is racism for dogs.

12:48PM PDT on Sep 4, 2012

I agree with Valerie W. & Enid B. 100%.
Let's get some of these ignorant people who make these decisions educated.
BSL is BS and should be abolished.

8:14AM PDT on Sep 4, 2012

I believe for most point its not the breed,its the owners. No-One should have the right to stereotype a dog or its breed and rip out of all homes and discard like yesterdays trash,here today gone tomorrow.I believe owners are the reasons for all attacks or most of.I have a young neighbor ,who owns a pit,2 yrs.old and beats and kicks hell out it, for marking its territory in her house,she is a smart ass when addressed to, about this abuse and ignorant and stubborn and won't get dog fixed,rather be stupid and abusive. I was at cage defending this dog against abuse and the dog was biting the cage ,he wanted to eat me.These people have a large responsibility as to the dog bites in society,they are the problem and they are the ones who need dealt with,not the dog.No-one has reported her yet..but she is walking on thin thin ice,we all know shelters will not be understanding or kind to this dog either.We need a rescue,we need to be so....grateful for animal rescue groups and help them make a way to keep these and all their animals happy,safe and fed,if they had more help,they are the ones with a big heart!I don't hold much trust in gov. or shelters,or laws to help any animals,especially when they have closed doors to the public,that is the red flag instantly for me.So much justifying in the world,makes me wonder sometimes if blanket parties could be or should be justified in some cases.Just a bad thought,I know that's just as wrong as the abuse,but laws just don't protect the voic

7:27AM PDT on Sep 4, 2012

Signed.

7:17AM PDT on Sep 4, 2012

Do you want to know the actual breed that has the most dog bites? It is the Chihuahua!

But that doesn't make the news, and it is under-reported. Can you imagine if it did, people would be running down the street killing all those little dogs.

The reason it is not reported is that it is a small bite, and would be embarassing to have to say that a little dog did so much damage.

Think about THAT next time you want to pet that cute dog in someone's arms.

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