Council hearing debates new regulations for pit bulls

July 14, 2010
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Pit bull owners beware – new regulations are about to be put into place by the Lynn City Council.

The regulations will actually be new restrictions with the effort being all about reducing the number of violent pit bull attacks in the city.

A spate of pitbull attacks in recent weeks and months has served to highlight the public debate about new efforts to control the dogs and to make their owners responsible for dogs, which the council believes, are overtly aggressive and generally dangerous to the public at large.

Councillors led by Council President Tim Phelan wrote the ordinance last month following two pitbull attacks that sent two victims to the hospital, including a 6 month old.

“We are compelled to do something meaningful to keep our streets safe for children, the elderly, for everyone who might ostensibly become the victim of a pit bull attack – and that’s really all of us,” said Phelan.

The proposed new ordinance specifies that pit bulls are dangerous animals with powerful instincts for dominance and unyielding aggressiveness.

At last week’s Fourth of July fireworks display, a huge crowd of men, women and children turned out to Red Rock Park for the festivities.

At about 9:30 p.m., a young man taking his pitbull for a walk on a closed Lynn Shore Drive set the example for everything the city council is referring to.

The young man could barely hold the pit bull, who was charging forward and made uptight by the huge crowd and the booming fireworks.

Some observers said they could not believe a pit bull was being walked in the midst of such a huge crowd – and then the pit bull went after another dog – and only with a superhuman tug did the pitbull and his master get away as hundreds of frightened residents looked on in fear.

The new ordinance provides for greater fines and higher fees and more extended responsibilities for pit bull owners.

When the Lynn Journal recently wrote in an editorial that pitbulls should be outlawed altogether in Lynn, the Journal’s website received 10,000 hits overnight.

It is, in other words, a huge issue, with dog rights activists protesting against the ordinance saying it is unfair and public safety advocates pleading for pitbulls to be as far removed from people as possible.

An 8:00 p.m. hearing is planned at city hall Tuesday evening.

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