Tag Archives: Pawtucket

Pawtucket Rhode Island loses battle to keep ban

When Rhode Island legislators passed a law that prohibits municipalities from enacting any breed discriminatory laws, Pawtucket officials balked.  They claimed that the law only addressed future laws, and did not apply to them because Pawtucket’s breed ban was in effect before the passage of the state law.  As a result, they continued to enforce the ban after the state law had been passed.

A man by the name of Albert Alix stepped up to take on Pawtucket’s ban.   Alix was cited under the ban after his dog, Chubs, escaped his yard.  There was no bite incident.

In late 2013, a case was filed in court, challenging Pawtucket’s ban, with The Defenders of Animals and Alix as co-plaintiffs.  The city maintained the position that they were allowed to keep their ban because the state law wasn’t expressly retroactive, while Alix’s attorney, Mark Morse, stated that the ban was invalid because of the state law.

A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of Alix.  The judge found that the state law does supersede Pawtucket’s ban.  This means that, at this time, Pawtucket is no longer allowed to enforce their ban.  This also means that there is a precedent set against any other municipality that would attempt to continue enforcement of a breed discriminatory law.  If this ruling stands, it clarifies the state law so that it is clear that no breed discriminatory laws are allowed, regardless of when they were enacted.

It is interesting to note that Pawtucket attempted to have a grandfather clause included in the prohibition on breed discriminatory laws during the Senate committee hearings, but the grandfather clause was rejected.  This speaks to the intent of the law and legislators.  Had they intended to allow existing ordinances to be maintained, they would have expressly included the grandfather clause.  This was not the only way Pawtucket officials attempted to keep their ban.  They also tried an e-mail campaign to defeat the state law prohibiting BDL while the bill was moving through the legislative process.  That was unsuccessful as well.  The contention at the time was that reversal of the ban would make their community un-safe.

The city does have the option to appeal the decision.  At this time, the cities attorneys are waiting to see the written order, and a transcript of the proceedings before deciding whether or not to appeal.  Pawtucket was the only city to try and keep their breed discriminatory law, with active enforcement, after the state prohibition was passed.

Lawsuit filed to challenge the legality of Pawtucket RI’s breed ban

Earlier this year legislation was passed in Rhode Island that prohibits any municipality from enacting a breed discriminatory law.

Pawtucket is one of the places in Rhode Island with a breed discriminatory law.  A ban on pit bulls and dogs resembling pit bulls, was enacted in 1994.   As is typical with places that have long-standing breed bans with entrenched officials, Pawtucket has been lauding the success of their ban for sometime.  However, a simple google search brings plenty of results of dog related issues.  Even officials assertion that bites by targeted dogs have been reduced is questionable considering that with a ban there should be no attacks by targeted dogs and many people have dogs that are labeled as other mixes instead of being put under the legislative catch-all “pit bull.”

Any attacks go to the fact that there are those in the community who do not operate control over their dogs, and those that do.  The ones who do not, get attention.  The ones who do, slide under the radar living peacefully with their targeted dogs.

As soon as the bill began making the rounds, officials from Pawtucket went on the offensive.

During the passage of this legislation officials from Pawtucket tried to derail the process in several ways.  They tried, unsuccessfully, to have the bill voted down.  They tried, unsuccessfully, to amend the bill to include a grandfather clause that would allow municipalities with existing laws to keep them and, finally, they tried a plea to the Governor to not sign the bill into law, which was also unsuccessful.

The legislation passed comfortably and the Governor then signed it.

The failed attempt to include a grandfather clause is particularly interesting.  Pawtucket is now arguing that the legislation does not affect places with breed discriminatory laws already in place.  If it was the intent of the law makers to allow places to keep existing breed discriminatory laws, the grandfather clause amendment would have been accepted.  However, the legislation as worded does not specify if it is retroactive, leaving the issue open to litigation.

One resident is now challenging the assertion that Pawtucket is within their rights to keep their ban.  A suit has been filed on behalf of Albert Alix, who was issued a citation for a violation of the ban after the dog, Chubs, escaped the yard.  There was no bite that occurred.

It is the city’s position that, because the law does not say that it is retroactive, they are allowed to keep their ban.  Officials have admitted that the legislation is not clear and that their ban is open to legal challenge.

Mark Morse, the lawyer representing Alix and Defenders of Animals, a local animal welfare group,  stated in an interview that the suit asks the court to declare the city ordinance invalid because it is inconsistent with the new state law the prohibits breed discrimination.

This case will clarify the law, unless legislators address the issue before then.

Either way, we will be watching the case carefully and updating as needed.

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.

_______________________________________________________

MEETING REMINDER:

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
President
jfwardcpa@gmail.com
Daniel M. Gendron
Vice President
Dangendron1@verizon.net
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.

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.

_______________________________________________________

MEETING REMINDER:

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
President
jfwardcpa@gmail.com
Daniel M. Gendron
Vice President
Dangendron1@verizon.net
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.

Woonsocket, RI – Pit Bulls Targeted by City Ordinance

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
President
jfwardcpa@gmail.com
Daniel M. Gendron
Vice President
Dangendron1@verizon.net
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.