Pit Bull Ordinance

It’s finally upon us.

I’ve written about pits before, and what will likely happen tomorrow night is that the Council will refer the ordinance to the Public Health & Human Services subcommittee.

I know (because I’ve emailed her about this) that Councilor Haller has asked for detailed dog bite statistics, and that (when I emailed her) she had not yet received those statistics.  I had also contacted the dog officers and had been told that the figures I wanted on dog bites were not available.  One can only wonder where the Worcester statistics are coming from.  I will follow up with Councilor Haller again to see if she has received those statistics.

I would like to remind the readers who care about this issue that the last time an amendment to the dog ordinance was proposed, I was the only citizen of Worcester to show up at the Public Health & Human Services subcommittee meeting.  It does not matter how much you care about an issue.  If you do not contact the City Council and show up at a meeting, you cannot expect your views to be heard.

So — if you care passionately about this, here’s what you need to do:

After this is assigned to committee, write to city councilors.  You should focus on the members of Public Health (Palmieri, Haller, Lukes).  If this gets killed in Public Health, it will not come back to the City Council for review.  Focus on those councilors.

Remember that at the Council meeting in February where this was originally discussed, Phil Palmieri had a much better idea for a responsible owner ordinance.  I think it would be fair to ask him why we’re going to target a certain type of dog, versus irresponsible owners.  He was on the right track, and now we’re taking a step back.

I also think Councilors Haller and Lukes would be sympathetic to responsible dog owners’ concerns.

If you’re inclined to write, you should let the councilors know that the Boston dog ordinance does not, in fact, work, and that many incidents of dog bites would either not be covered (because they’re on the owner’s property) or are already covered by an existing leash law (from the examples in this post).   Tim Hart, previously interviewed on this blog and on 508, put together an excellent brochure about this issue as well.

Also, you need to show up when this is discussed in committee.  I cannot stress this enough.  Write emails, make phone calls, and show up at the meeting to discuss how this will affect you, or how wrong-headed it is.

Please let me know if I need to write in more detail about this topic.  (Or if you’re completely tired of hearing about it!)

7 thoughts on “Pit Bull Ordinance

  1. t-traveler says:

    not sure about the rules, but I thouoght the council has a history of making a decision that is the opposite of the committee’s recommendation. The best option is for the committee to keep it on the table, IMHO

  2. Jason F says:

    Done and done, emailed public health and my councilor (Smith) Keep us updated and let us know when the meetings are.

  3. Tim Hart says:

    Thanks for keeping us all informed Nicole. If anyone wants to go to the meeting, but doesn’t know exactly what to say please contact me. There are about a dozen professional organizations, including the CDC, with published statements against Breed Specific Legislation. I think it might be very effective to let emotions take a back seat to professional opinions during these meetings.


  4. t-traveler says:

    It’s not effective to give citizens canned testimony. Pols can spot someone reading a script a mile a way, and are irritataed as they perceive hearing it read to them a waste of time


    “When we began our work on a drop-out prevention program in Lawrence, MA, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, parents told us they were not participating in their children’s education because they “don’t even know what to ask.”

    We didn’t grasp it at the time, but they had identified a huge obstacle that prevents many people from thinking for themselves, from doing their own problem solving, from becoming more self-sufficient and from being able to see the “Big Picture” beyond their own lives. It only took hearing that statement one or two…thousand times, and we finally got it.

    But, just as we finally grasped how important questions might be, we made a serious mistake. We came up with our own list of recommended questions and handed them to the parents. That, very quickly, turned into a dead end and only increased their dependency on us. Eventually, we figured out that we had to find a way to teach people how to formulate their own questions. We’ve spent 15 years designing ways to do that as simply and effectively as possible and created the Question Formulation Technique (QFT).

  5. Izabela says:

    I do not live in Worcester, but I shop there frequently with my CGC American Pit Bull Terrier. How can I get involved if I am not a resident of Worcester? The part that made me cringe the most was the sentence from the telegram saying ” notify animal control officers or the police whenever their pit bull injures or threatens any person or animal”. As if inflated, breed-biased (and inaccurate breed identification) statistics weren’t bad enough already! No wonder the CDC and AVMA do not endorse bite statistics anymore!

    • Izabela says:

      I should add that people should be doing it for all breeds… but that will never happen!

    • t-traveler says:

      I recently found out dogs are not welcome in downtown worcester, downtown is bordered roughly by Highland and chandler, Lancaster st and I-290, this includes all of the canal district. There is an exception for service dogs of course, and all dogs that live inside that catchment area that are registered at city hall in the clerks office.

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