Get BSL Out of Boston

Governor Deval Patrick recently signed “An Act Further Regulating Animal Control” into law, which will update laws that have been on the books for decades and create stronger, more comprehensive animal protection laws in a variety of areas, which includes banning breed specific legislation (BSL) in the state as of October 1.

Unfortunately, officials in Boston, where regulations on pit bulls are in place, are disappointed with the decision and plan on requesting a home rule petition that would allow the city to circumvent state law and keep its BSL.

Declaring a breed dangerous based solely on looks with no regard for the actual disposition of dogs on either an individual or breed level is not an effective approach in regards to controlling dogs’ behaviors within a community or improving safety. Please sign this petition asking the Massachusetts Legislature not approve a petition from Boston officials allowing them to enforce BSL under the home rule and keep breed-neutral legislation in place.

As a dog lover and animal advocate I was thrilled to hear that Governor Deval Patrick recently signed “An Act Further Regulating Animal Control," which will bring an end to breed specific legislation in the state.

I was then disappointed to learn that Boston officials are planning to request a home rule petition that would allow the city to continue to regulate dogs based solely on their looks, or more specifically to regulate pit bulls.

Statistics don't back up the claim that any one breed is more dangerous than another and unfairly targets responsible owners who love their dogs and, of course, well behaved dogs.

The American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS), an organization that promotes uniform temperament testing, tested the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, who all scored above 84.2 percent. Their scores are incidentally about the same as the ever so popular family dog the Golden Retriever, who received 85.2 percent.

In addition to the problems with misidentification, targeting a specific breed does nothing to promote safety within a community. Responsible breeding and prevention of abuse go a long way in keeping communities happy and safe.

I sincerely hope you will not approve any petitions that would undo the state's progressive new law and instead focus on promoting humane animal care, tougher penalties for animal abusers and education for the public on how to avoid dog bites.

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