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!)