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.”

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