Of Canines and Things

October 9, 2012
By

A few months ago, the state enacted a new law to modernize animal-control laws, which includes the first statewide rules for tethering canines. The bill signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick is especially aimed at those who are convicted of cruelty to animals.

The law also bans a person from keeping a dog chained or tethered to a tree, doghouse, pole of other structure for longer than 24 consecutive hours. Tethers must be designed for dogs, and no lines such as logging chains are allowed.

In addition, the law establishes restrictions for keeping dogs outside. Dogs must be in a secure enclosure, a fenced yard, or connected with a pulley cable. Dogs must have adequate exercise space, water and shelter.

In short, the new law protects pets.

But what about residents just out for a walk?

How are they to be protected?

Last weekend, Mayor Thomas Menino announced he may be considering a local ordinance requiring pit bull owners to muzzle their dogs if and when they are outside.

That statement by the mayor followed a bloody incident in East Boston, where two pit bulls ran wild around a local square without leashes, mauling a child and terrorizing residents.

Boston Police shot one of the pit bulls. A Boston Animal Control officer captured the second pit bull and took the dog into custody. The shot pit bull is expected to recover. The young child that was mauled will take months to recover and psychologically, the child will always be haunted by the memory.

Such attacks have happened in our city repeatedly and Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy should take some action.

The new canine rights law does not allow dogs to be treated by breed – rather – all breeds are treated as dogs and ostensibly are treated the same way in the eyes of the law.

The savagery in East Boston over the weekend and in Lynn is an oft-repeated story all over the city in nearly all of our neighborhoods.

Obviously, the laws we enact don’t physically protect dogs or human beings unless the people the laws are meant for pay attention to them.

Too many maulings by pit bulls running amuck has identified pit bulls as a very dangerous breed of dog.

Granted, not all pit bulls are bred to maul residents out for a walk. It is true that pit bulls were a gentle breed of dog and held widely by dog lovers all over the nation before the First World War.

Today, in the urban setting where they often run wild and maul innocents, pit bulls need to be restrained by the city government if their owners show an inability to do so.

We agree with Mayor Menino’s thoughts on muzzling pit bulls in order to protect the safety of the public. We should continue to demand that owners here do the same.

Too many pit bull owners treat and train their pets as attack  dogs or use them as protection in the urban milieu.

Vicious pit bulls must either be permanently restrained or muzzled when being walked in public as the mayor is suggesting.

Police officers having to shoot dogs after they’ve mauled residents who must be taken to the hospital is the last thing we need.

The dogs we keep as pets must be as civilized as the city we live in.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cuzycam Charity Knight

    “where two pit bulls ran wild around a local square without leashes”
    I doubt they would have muzzles on, too, if this new order goes into effect. So, how would this new order keep the community any safer?

  • Sonnet

    Educate yourself on actual pit bull attack statistics, would you? This is a bunch of drivel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/samantha.stgermain Sammie Branche

    First of all, if people obeyed leash laws, this would be a moot point.
    Second, dangerous DOGS, of ANY and ALL breeds should be muzzled in public, not just “pit bulls”! The new law addresses ALL of this, check it out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pete.hamer Pete Hamer

    The people that are going to obey a muzzle law are not the people that you need to worry about.

    The problems that you are having with dogs is a reflection of how civilized your city is. “Pit Bulls” are popular pets in Minneapolis where BSL is illegal and we don’t have a problem like what you describe.

    This is a sensational and ignorant article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stacey.jacobscoleman Stacey Jacobs-Coleman

    “Too many pit bull owners treat and train their pets as attack dogs or use them as protection in the urban milieu”
    Is that to say that the dogs permitted to run loose and injure a child were kept as attack or guard dogs? Or, were you just making a generalization about “those” people who own pit bulls? Or, are you making a value judgment on the residents who live in East Boston where the incident occurred? According to the Boston municipal site, East Boston is a community comprised mostly of immigrants. Is that to say that immigrants are to blame for keeping the dogs as attack/guard dogs or are you saying that the other residents of Boston are hostile toward the immigrants living in East Boston so these residents must protect themselves with dogs because the police won’t protect them? Either way, that seems pretty uncivilized. And, no matter how you answer any of these questions, a muzzle law wouldn’t have done anything to protect the injured child from the single, reckless owner who disregarded laws and allowed his dogs to run at large. What does help communities stay safe from reckless owners, you ask? Enforcement of the laws that govern responsible pet ownership. Enforcement of the laws that govern a civilized society (thus ending the need for attack/guard dogs). Journalists who are not too weak to hold their city leaders accountable for keeping all members of the community safe from reckless owners, including dog owners who get blamed (or stereotyped) in the newspaper for the acts of others – whether they were involved or not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stacey.jacobscoleman Stacey Jacobs-Coleman

    “Too many pit bull owners treat and train their pets as attack dogs or use them as protection in the urban milieu”
    Is that to say that the dogs permitted to run loose and injure a child were kept as attack or guard dogs? Or, were you just making a generalization about “those” people who own pit bulls? Or, are you making a value judgment on the residents who live in East Boston where the incident occurred? According to the Boston municipal site, East Boston is a community comprised mostly of immigrants. Is that to say that immigrants are to blame for keeping the dogs as attack/guard dogs or are you saying that the other residents of Boston are hostile toward the immigrants living in East Boston so these residents must protect themselves with dogs because the police won’t protect them? Either way, that seems pretty uncivilized. And, no matter how you answer any of these questions, a muzzle law wouldn’t have done anything to protect the injured child from the single, reckless owner who disregarded laws and allowed his dogs to run at large. What does help communities stay safe from reckless owners, you ask? Enforcement of the laws that govern responsible pet ownership. Enforcement of the laws that govern a civilized society (thus ending the need for attack/guard dogs). Journalists who are not too weak to hold their city leaders accountable for keeping all members of the community safe from reckless owners, including dog owners who get blamed (or stereotyped) in the newspaper and in the law for the acts of others – whether they were involved or not.

  • Lisa

    Discriminatory, bigoted and uneducated story. You really must be put on a leash yourself….really. With your journalistic privilege, you have an obligation to produce factual information to report to the public. The fact is that a very small percentage of pitbull owners train their dogs to ‘attack’. The majority are every day family dogs (just go look at the backlash on Kelly Ripa’s site and tell me how many ‘thugs’ there are). And there is no ‘were a gentle breed of dog….. before the First World War’, they still are.

    And there is an “oft-repeated story” because of the lack of integrity in the media for digging down to the truth instead of using the flashiest headline to sell a story. A very large number of attacks reported as pitbulls are false identifications and go unconfirmed by the media, so you can shove that ‘oft-repeated story’. And pair it up with words like “mauling”, just adds to the sensationalization. You don’t see the headline “mauled by Standard Poodle”, when they can and have bitten just as severely, and have a lower temperament rating than the APBT. More like “Child bitten by family pet”…. biased reporting at it’s best.

    PItbulls are not a ‘special’ breed of dog that instinctually go around attacking people and animals, and they do not have any stronger bite than any other breed of dog. All dogs have the capability to bite. Why don’t you put your focus on where it needs to be and hold humans accountable. Sickening that you would pass the blame to an animal, and one specific breed no less. Really.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=675185043 Zia Bossenmeyer

    Ridiculous article!

  • heather z

    The dogs were running loose, not out for a walk so how does putting muzzles on dogs out for a walk have anything to do with this attack? People are so ignorant.

  • Derek

    Do you really think that the people who train their dogs to attack or use them as guard dogs will keep them muzzled? Laws like these simply do not work because the people who obey the law are the people who are responsible owners in the first place, and the bad owners will just continue to ignore the laws. There is a leash law and a law against roaming free, but neither of these stopped that child from being mauled, do you think one more law is going to help?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.brighton.79 Jennifer Brighton

    And what makes the journal staff and the mayor think that the kind of people who let their pit bulls run loose will muzzle them first? What makes them think these types of people won’t simply acquire a different large breed? As a responsible owner, I won’t even leave my dogs tied up outside a local grocery store while I run in for a carton of milk. I’m too afraid of what someone will do to my dogs because of fear-mongering editorials like this one. Let’s work on real solutions, not Band-aids. Like focusing on owners of loose and often untrained, hungry or abused dogs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/amycon Amy Conrad

    You said one thing correct “Obviously, the laws we enact don’t physically protect dogs or human beings unless the people the laws are meant for pay attention to them.” Kudos to Lynn for not buying into your type of scare tactics. Please educate yourself before making any other ignorant remarks. It’s the media that is the problem, not these dogs. People will be held accountable for any and all incidents their dogs might cause, why make it only relating to a certain breed. Why target my dog just by the way he looks because some people do not know how to properly contain their dogs. You are the problem, not the dogs society incorrectly labels a “Pit Bull” because they happen to have a short coat and a blocky head.

    A 4 day study of media coverage in 2007 revealed the
    following:

    8/18/07: A lab mix attacked a 70 year old man sending him to
    the hospital in critical condition – result? 1 mention in a local paper.

    8/19/07: A 16 month old child suffered fatal head and neck
    injuries from an attack by a mixed breed dog – result? 2 local newspaper
    mentions.

    8/20/07: A 6 year old boy was hospitalized after a mixed
    breed dog tore his ear off and severely bit him. – result? 1 local newspaper
    mention

    8/21/07: A 59 year old women was hospitalized with severe
    injuries following and attack by 2 pit bulls – result? 230 newspaper articles worldwide
    and televised by CNN, MSNBC and FOX.

    Now you tell me how this is not biased.

    Please EDUCATE YOURSELF: http://www.1800petmeds.com/education/pit-bull-facts-and-myths.htm

  • Lisa

    Another excellent point Heather Z. Please report intelligently Lynn Journal.

  • Amy Donahue

    I find it interesting that the byline is for “Journal Staff.” I wouldn’t want my name attached to this article either.

    It’s total bullshit. These breeds are still loved by people all over the nation, not just before WWI. There is an index out there for dogs most likely to bite, and a bit bull actually ranks as a lower risk than a golden retriever. Your cocker spaniel is more likely to scar your child than a pit bull.

  • Ori

    This
    article makes no sense, and the author needs a reality check. First,
    she/he notes that some pitbulls are used for protection (to guard their
    owners from people with malicious intent), but then proceeds to say that
    “The dogs we keep as pets must be
    as civilized as the city we live in.” Obviously if the city was so
    “civilized”, there would be no need for guard dogs. Putting dogs up to
    our human standard of being civilized is also a ridiculous thing to say –
    dogs are dogs, not humans. Secondly, the author states that “Obviously,
    the laws we enact don’t physically protect dogs or human beings unless
    the people the laws are meant for pay attention to them.” This is
    correct. The problem is that the people who pay attention to THIS law
    will also pay attention to the leash law – and they are most likely
    responsible owners who have not trained their dogs to attack; therefore,
    placing a muzzle on the dog would be unnecessary and would just cause
    fear among people who see the dog. Those who have trained their dog to
    attack obviously won’t follow this law because they’re irresponsible to
    begin with, so creating this law is pointless. The author says that
    “Vicious pit bulls must either be permanently restrained or muzzled,”
    but as I just said, those people who have trained their pitties to be
    vicious won’t give a crap about this. I just wish I could have a
    conversation with the author and make them realize how ignorant this
    article is.

  • chris

    My apologies. I clicked on the ‘star’ to find a dropdown menu that could allow me to rate this blunder of an ‘article’ as negative stars. Alas, the outcome was completely opposite of my intention. Whomever wrote this article should probably get rid of their keyboard. I stopped reading when I was so overly inundated with moronic statements that portrayed things such as WWI was a turning point for the fictitious ‘pitbull’. You, sheepish writer who has made a point not to post your name, should be ashamed of your idiocy. I am not going to waste any more of my time writing about this because you are obviously too intelligence challenged to see reality. To bring it down to your level: facepalm.jpg

  • http://www.facebook.com/webmistress32 Laura Prowicz

    “Too many pit bull owners treat and train their pets as attack dogs or use them as protection in the urban milieu.” Too many people assume it is perfectly ok with me to allow them to call me a thug and a criminal. It’s not ok – Do not disrespect me and look down your nose at me because of the type of dog I choose for my family. What type of dog I choose is my own private business and NONE of yours. Further: I am not responsible for what the thugs and criminals do with their dogs. Subjecting me to punishment and “special treatment” because of the type of dog I own just because I have that dog type in common with some unsavory individuals is DISCRIMINATION – which is against the law. You can’t punish me for the sins of my neighbor. You also can’t separate me from my fellow citizens and discriminate against me for arbitrary (and stupid) reasons. I have rights and I will defend them!

  • http://www.facebook.com/webmistress32 Laura Prowicz

    Quote from the article: “The dogs we keep as pets must be as civilized as the city we live in.”

    You don’t have very high standards, then.

    Brazen afternoon shooting Oct 1
    http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20221001daytime_roxbury_shooting

    BU on edge after series of armed robberies Oct 11
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2012/10/11/edge-after-series-armed-robberies/JUfHavkyjD2wA0vOqxkijP/story.html

    Boston is only 11% safer than other cities in the USA (i.e. one of the least safe)
    6113 VIOLENT CRIMES per year
    or 9.9 crimes per every 1,000 residents
    or 509 violent crimes per month
    or 117 violent crimes per week
    or 17 violent crimes PER DAY
    http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ma/boston/crime/

  • AntieMoe

    In this incident where two dogs (let’s leave breed out of it for a moment) were running about in a public area unleashed…what about the leash laws? Should’t the owners be held accountable? What if those dogs had been golden retrievers? Would the city want all Golden retrievers to be muzzled when they are outside? I doubt it. There is probably more to the story as to WHY to dogs attacked a child. We will probably never know. What we do know is that because these dogs looked like pits, the entire breed is now going to pay the price in one location. Shame the deed, not the breed. And hold the humans accountable for their animals’ behavior.

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