New Bedford, MA: Councilmember pushes BSL

In summer 2010, councilmember Debbie Coehlo proposed breed-specific regulations for “pit bull” owners. The council was divided over the proposal, and it ultimately did not go anywhere. Coehlo intends to try again.

From the April 15 council meeting agenda/minutes:

27. WRITTEN MOTION, Councillor Coelho, requesting, ONCE AGAIN, that the Committee on Ordinances and the Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhoods, look into methods of ensuring that all dogs are properly licensed in the City of New Bedford, especially in the more densely populated, residential inner-city areas, where “Pit Bulls” have been roaming at will on the City streets menacing pedestrians; and further, considering that these dogs have a long history of dangerous/menacing behavior, as recently evidenced by the killing of a defenseless smaller breed dog and the attack on that smaller dog’s owner when he tried to intervene and save the little dog, that the Committee on Ordinances take this matter seriously and research any restrictions that may be placed on the owners of these dogs and the landlords of the buildings where these dogs reside, including requiring landlords to carry some form of insurance, as some other Communities in Massachusetts already require property owners to do, further requesting, that the Committee on Ordinances look into creating an Ordinance similar to the one in Boston, “Responsible Pit Bull Ownership”, and further, requesting that this matter be heard at the next Committees on Ordinances and Public Safety and Neighborhoods, since very matter was first brought before the City Council for action on June 10, 2010, and nothing has been done. (To be Referred to the Committee on Ordinances and the Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhoods.)

Contact the New Bedford city council:
City Clerk Rita Arruda,
New Bedford City Hall, 133 William Street, New Bedford, MA 02740
Not all councilmembers have posted email addresses, so you can send correspondence to the city clerk and request that it be forwarded or distributed to city councilmembers. 

Next city council meeting: Thursday, April 28, 7:00 PM in Room 214 at City Hall.

All alerts for New Bedford:

I highly recommend reading the entire article below (follow the link at bottom of page for the full article) for a more complete understanding of the discussions taking place in New Bedford, including excellent comments from the city’s animal control officer.

Should there be pit bull-specific rules for New Bedford?

By Dan McDonald,
April 24, 2011 12:00 AM

NEW BEDFORD — […] Earlier this month, Coelho has filed a motion requesting two council subcommittees look into a breed-specific pit bull ordinance. […]

Coelho said an animal control officer from Boston, which has breed-specific rules, has been invited to speak with the council.

Coelho said she wants the Committee on Ordinances and the Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhoods to look into requiring landlords to carry some form of insurance for dogs such as pit bulls and place restrictions on who can own such dogs.

In the past, she has pushed rules that call for a more stringent registration process for certain breeds and include age requirements, and for pit bull owners, provisions detailing who can breed such dogs, who can sell them, and how many pit bulls one person could own.[…]

Full article retrieved 4/24/11 from

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