City Officials Seek Restrictions on Pit Bulls Following Attack

After two pit bulls went on a rampage and terrorized residents in Jeffries Point and Maverick Square last week, Mayor Thomas Menino and City Councilor Sal LaMattina are looking to put more restrictions on the breed.

Police had to shoot one of the two pit bulls last Friday afternoon after the dogs broke through a screen door, killed a cat, attacked a teenager and chased people around Sumner Street.

One responding officer shot one of the dogs on Cottage Street but did not mortally wound the animal. Boston Animal Control took both pit bulls into custody.

The terrifying incident has raised questions over the state law that prohibits legislation or city ordinances that target a specific dog breed.

Menino and LaMattina feel the law needs to be reexamined.

“The mayor has said that this is a community rights issue,” said Menino spokesman John Guilfoil. “The state went forward with this action without consulting cities and towns that would be affected. In Boston we view this as a public safety issue and will work aggressively to find a solution.”

Menino and LaMattina said they want owners of pitbulls to register their dogs with the city and require owners to muzzle the animals when in public.

“What happen in East Boston underscores the need to have vigilance,” said Guilfoil. “While we don’t believe this entire breed is evil there has been problems with pitbulls in the past both in Boston and nationally. People have gotten hurt, other animals have gotten killed so there is a pattern.”

Guilfoil said the Menino administration wants to work with the state and talk to other communities in order to get back to the negotiation table.

“Outlawing breed specific legislation is not the solution and the Mayor believes the state should be in talks with the communities and people being affected by the issue,” said Guilfoil.

For his part, LaMattina is working with Councilor Rob Consalvo to pass a home rule petition to force pitbull owners to muzzle their pet.

“I’m very concerned because this was a very scary situation for everyone involved,” said LaMattina. “A young man got bit and could have got seriously hurt or killed. We are really fortunate no one got hurt so we need to hold dog owners more accountable.”

10 comments for “City Officials Seek Restrictions on Pit Bulls Following Attack

  1. 123tl78
    October 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I can imagine it was scary but since the media only focuses on what they hope are pit bull attacks we never get a fair representation of the reality of having at least 75 million dogs (carnivores) in the US. Boston certainly has more problems than two dogs. I fully support responsible dog ownership and educating the public on what a dog is, understanding dog behavior, safely training dogs and safely socializing them to people and animals, not letting your dog run loose, spay and neuter most dogs, crack down on reckless breeders of dogs, and teaching people how to safely approach dogs and stiffer penalties for the irresponsible and reckless dog owners whose dogs are allowed to run loose and/or bite. But I don’t believe in making millions of responsible dog owners pay for the actions of the minority of irresponsible dog owners and I don’t agreed with some of the media’s bias towards pit bulls and calling a dog attack a pit bull attack to get ratings. There are so many mixed breed dogs. Pit bull is a generic term used for several breeds of dogs and varies by town to town on what they consider is a pit bull. Other dog run loose and cause trouble but it doesn’t get in the news. Not exciting enough when other dogs cause trouble apparently. Not right.

  2. Jason Fraser
    October 12, 2012 at 3:04 am

    That’s because the “trouble” caused by those “other dogs” that “run loose” do not result in serious injuries and death. And those “other dogs” aren’t so vicious and determined they tear through screens, break through glass windows and doors, jump from second-floor balconies, or rip vehicles apart to to “get at” another animal or a person they are intent on attacking. Last year, pit bull-type dogs were responsible for approximately 77% of the dog attack deaths in the US and 100% of the dismemberments and scalpings. Please tell me when was the last time you read a report of any dog in the US other than a pit bull ripping the arms or legs from an adult human being?

  3. October 15, 2012 at 7:58 am

    “Menino and LaMattina said they want owners of pitbulls to register their
    dogs with the city and require owners to muzzle the animals when in

    This is what responsible dog owners do anyway. Again.. hold the irresponsible pet owners liable and stop blaming the dogs. That includes ANY breed. No ones knows for sure of all of the attacks by other breeds because the media admittedly will not cover a dog attack unless it involves a pit bull. It was the same years ago when they created mass hysteria over Rotties and dim witted, closed minded, weak “followers” took it all in because someone on TV said it was so. Pathetic.

    Behind every human aggressive dog is an abusive human who made them that way.

    Educate yourselves.

  4. Brandi Lee Matteson
    October 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Lets look at the facts as you reported through your irresponsible and sensationalistic supposed journalism. Two dogs, WHO WERE IN THEIR HOME, broke a screen door…why? Where is the documentation that the officer would have had to fill out for discharging a weapon on duty? Where is the dashboard cam video footage? Where is the statement from the owner regarding any behavioral issues of these dogs in the past? Where are the witness statements? Where is the DNA test proving that these 2 dogs were indeed American Pit Bull Terriers as defined by the UKC? Menino and LaMattina feel the law needs to be re-examined and that pit bulls need to be muzzled when out in public? Well, wouldn’t work in this situation because the dogs broke out of their home. They weren’t on a walk with their owners, but had broken out for whatever reason that apparently no one wants to investigate. If you want to hold the dog owners more accountable, then make the law uniform to all dogs.

    Now for Jason and your lovely comments. Very nice of you to include unproven statistics from a PRO-BSL and noted anti-pit bull and pit bull types website. I notice you didn’t give credit to their information that you plagiarized, so here, allow me to give the public the link for this hate group. But here is my question, have you ever been around a pit bull? Do you know what a true pit bull looks like? Did you know that the first and most awarded dog in military history is a bully dog? Did you know that the American Pit Bull Terrier was not recognized as a breed until 1990? Get your facts straight! According to the study by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it concludes (and I quote)..”Although fatal attacks on humans appear to be a breed-specific problem (pit bull-type dogs and Rottweilers), other breeds may bite and cause fatalities at higher rates. Because of difficulties inherent in determining a dog’s breed with certainty, enforcement of breed-specific ordinances raises constitutional and practical issues. Fatal attacks represent
    a small proportion of dog bite injuries to humans and, therefore, should not be the primary factor driving public policy concerning dangerous dogs. Many practical alternatives to breed-specific ordinances exist and hold promise for prevention of dog bites.” BSL is not the answer, and those politicans that continue to push breed specific legislation are just using a recent incident to incite panic in the public and keep the general voting community away from real issues that need to be addressed. The only act in history that comes to mind that is equal to the continuous eradication of “pit bull”s (most of whom are not pit bulls at all but any number of other or mixed breeds) is the holocaust. And those people who publicly and fully support the extermination of these dogs are no better than the Nazi’s leading the Jews to their deaths.

    If you want effective legislation, then take a look at what Calgary’s shining example of effective canine law that puts the responsibility where it belongs…on the owner. It is not breed specific and they have actually seen a marked decrease in dog related bites and incidents because it applies to all dogs and their owners.

    In my opinion as a journalist myself, this article is nothing more than more anti-pit bull propaganda aimed at selling subscriptions. I would recommend that the journalist get their facts straight, then find something called ethics and integrity. The politicians also mentioned in this article want the voting public to think they are doing “something” for this “problem”. Well, maybe the voting public should start making records requests regarding these two men to find out if they ever do anything. As a citizen it is not only your right but your duty to be aware of what your elected officials are doing IN YOUR NAME. And lastly, for the commenter Jason below, I would recommend you educate yourself using unbiased third party information instead of going to hate sites to come off as educated. All you did is make yourself look like a hate monger and a fool. After all, reports from the United States Department of Justice also show that homicide victims and perpetrators are 6 times more likely to be African American than any other race, does that mean you are a racist as well. Go to your local shelter, volunteer, work with the animals, then form a truly educated opinion instead of being just another puppet to the propaganda.

  5. October 15, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Excellent response Brandi

  6. October 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

    While my next door neighbor’s miniature poodle didn’t eat anyone, he sure did go through a plate glass window. It has nothing to do with the breed, dear Jason. It has to do with the owner and whether or not the person really has any control over the dog or is exerting a positive or negative influence. ANY dog can be trained to be a weapon or untrained to be a crazed “animal” and let run amok. As Brandi has stated so eloquently above, educate yourself and get your facts straight.

  7. Jason Fraser
    June 12, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Dear Lori: It has EVERYTHING to do with the breed!!!!

    Radcliffe Robins, DVM and animal behaviorist, knows more about dogs than you, Brandi, or any of these other uninformed, delusional pit bull proponents combined. He says: “Temperament is 100% genetic; it is inherited and fixed at the moment of the dog’s fertilization/conception. Temperament in the dog cannot be eliminated nor transformed from one type to another. It cannot change during the dog’s lifetime. It is the permanent mental/neurological characteristic of the individual dog. Environment, socialization or training can modify the expression of an individual dog’s temperament, but they cannot transform nor eliminate it. The dog will die with the temperament with which it was born.”

    “ANY dog can be trained to be a weapon …” Yeah, right! We must be wary of all those thugs walking the streets with their killer poodles, Dachshunds and beagles!

    Try educating YOURSELF and getting YOUR facts straight!

  8. Jason Fraser
    June 12, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I haven’t “plagiarized” anything and you’d best be careful when you make such unfounded allegations. For your information, and I do not even agree on the number of deaths-by-dog that occur in the US each year or the percentage of those deaths caused by pit bulls. So please explain how I plagiarized or copied information? If you were truly a “journalist,” and not just some wannabe, you would know that accusing a person of committing a crime (and plagiarism is a crime) without proof in a written forum is libel!

    Additionally, if I were black, I would be highly offended by the fact you place African Americans in the same category as something as worthless as DOGS! If anyone here is “racist,” it is YOU, Brandi!

    Go to the local library or bookstore and check out/purchase some books on journalism and pay particular attention to the chapters/passages pertaining to “ethics” because YOU don’t have any!

  9. badgerstate
    August 26, 2014 at 11:28 am

    I suggest you educate yourself. Seems you caps lock is stuck… When you state Pit Bull type, you are talking about three different breeds of dogs. American Pit Bull Terrier (only one that can be called a PB, legitimately) American Staffordshire Terrier, Stafforshire Bull Terrier. Also, grouped under this generalization is several breeds with similar appearances and features; Boxers, Boston Terriers, Cane Corso, mastiffs, Dogue de bordeaux and many, many more. Of course it looks like there is a “problem” with Pit Bull types..when they are named by a generalized term and not their actual breed. Just an FYI, a dachshund and other small breed dogs have been responsible for taking a human lives. Yes, it is rare but it proves that any dog, regardless of size has the capacity to maim and take a life.

    This Dr. Robbins you are quoting, please share a link. He is in the minority of Vets and behaviorists. The AVMA would not agree.

  10. Jason Fraser
    August 26, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    If my “caps lock” were stuck, my entire post would be in caps, genius! (And that should be “YOUR caps lock”, not “YOU caps lock.”)

    If you were as smart as you want people to think you are, you would be able to Google Dr. Robins instead of asking me to “share a link.”

    The AVMA is a professional organization looking out for its members. Any time a pit bull attacks someone’s pet or livestock and the animal doesn’t die, some vet pockets thousands treating the poor beast. Of course, the AVMA is going to support and defend pit bulls!

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