Woonsocket, RI – Officials Table Pit Bull Discussions

council plans to study pit bull issue

Woonsocket officials tabled proposed legislation on pit bull dogs noting that they wish to work more closely with pet owners in effort to create a solution that balances the interests of responsible pet owners and the need to protect the public from vicious dogs.

“The idea is to be a little more comprehensive about the problem rather than slapping together an ordinance we might have trouble enforcing,” Said City Council President John Ward.  Ward had proposed an ordinance similar to Pawtucket’s breed-specific ordinance, banning any new pit bulls from being licensed and forcing existing pit bull owners to obtain $100,000 worth of liability insurance.

If you are in the Woonsocket area, please make contact with your officials in effort to work with them in developing a breed-neutral Dangerous Dog ordinance.  You can reference our model ordinance if Council is open to suggestions for enforceable, effective community safety guidelines.

If you are not a Woonsocket resident, please continue to provide local officials with alternatives, facts, and statistics that support breed-neutral legislation by emailing them at the contact information provided below the original alert.



Council will discuss proposed breed specific legislation this evening at City Hall in the Harris Hall building at 7:00 PM.  Please plan to attend if in or near the area.  Email contact is below is you haven’t sent your correspondence yet.

In an attempt to curb the city’s population of pit bulls and other “fierce, dangerous or vicious” dogs, City Council President John F. Ward has proposed an ordinance that will prohibit any new pit bulls in the city after the ordinance is passed.

Existing pit bulls would be permitted to register prior to passing the ordinance, allowing them to remain within the city limits, but owners would have to obtain $100,000 liability policy as well as meet additional requirements to legally own the dogs.

This knee-jerk reaction comes at the heels of an incident last month that involved an alleged pit bull in which three people were injured with bite wounds.

According to Council President Ward, the police department has requested repeatedly that Woonsocket officials enact breed specific legislation because ‘we have pit bulls all over the city’.  Ward says “They think it would make it safer.”

In addition to the registration requirement and liability insurance, the new ordinance would require mandatory spay/neutering of ‘pit bulls’, “escape-proof” containment on the owners property, and muzzled and leashed or in a temporary enclosure when off the owners property.  

The proposed ordinance is structured on the near-by Pawtucket ordinance that was passed several years ago.  Ward states that while the matter is on the agenda for the Council’s Monday night meeting, it will likely be tabled for sometime in effort to provide council members time to discuss the proposal, gather feedback from police, pet owners and Animal Control Officer Doris Kay, as well as invite Pawtucket Animal Control Officer John Holmes to talk with council about how the law is working in his city.

“Pit Bull” is defined as American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog of mixed breed displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds.”

To send your POLITE, PROFESSIONAL and INFORMATIVE correspondence to Woonsocket Officials:
Woonsocket Council Agenda

John F. Ward, CPA
Daniel M. Gendron
Vice President
Roger Jalette (401) 597-5790
Christopher Beauchamp chrisbeauchamp@nicori.com
Robert Moreau rmoreau462@gmail.com
Albert Brien albertgbrien@yahoo.com
Marc Dubois mdubois6@cox.net

To contact the “City of Woonsocket”              webmaster@woonsocketri.org
Animal Control Officer Doris Kay                     dkay@woonsocketri.org
or phone:                                                                      (401) 766-6571

NOTE:  The City’s Animal Shelter webpage notes…Donations for money, cat litter, dog and cat toys, blankets, towels, cleaning supplies, leashes, etc. are needed.  ALSO – Encourage legislators to vote in favor of the animals and educate friends and neighbors – be an animal advocate, advocate responsible ownership including spaying and neutering.

The next Council meeting is scheduled for October 15th, 2012 at 7:00 PM at Harris Hall.  Council meetings are held every other Monday at 7:00.

One response to “Woonsocket, RI – Officials Table Pit Bull Discussions

  1. Pamela Compton

    As a constant pet owner since age 4, I have owned and cared for many different breeds and species of animals and birds including a skunk, a doberman, a ridgeback and now a pit. I was reluctant at first due to the “reputation” and opinions of others but as a responsible owner I took classes, had her registered and spayed. All to realize that the reputation and opinions were completely false and unjustified. The pit breed as with any other select animal at the time of convience is simply another target to direct ignorance and fear. Same as the Salem Witch Trials. No different. It’s something for negativity to feed on and take up tax payers money. These dogs are loyal, dedicated, friendly and protective. You treat them as any other animal. With patience, understanding and respect. If you want something to dedicate your time and money to try finding out WHY something happens. Not just because it’s a certian animal. Could be illness, or mainly the way they were treated or what humans have taught them. There’s an idea. Direct your “Breed Select Legislation” to the two legged breed and not the four. That’s where most are taught and trained from. Again, “Judge the deed. Not the breed.”