Worcester Animal Rescue League’s letter regarding the proposed pit bull ordinance

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

The Worcester Animal Rescue League, a privately run no-kill shelter, has sent a letter to each city councilor and members of the media regarding the proposed pit bull ordinance that will be up for final vote at the August 10 council meeting.

If the ordinance passes, here’s what would happen:

1) Pit bulls would have to be specially licensed, along with a normal city-issued dog license (this includes another $50 fee)
2) Pit bulls would have to be leashed and muzzled (or confined) when off their owner’s property
3) Owners would need consent from their land lords to keep a pit on premises
4) Owners would have to place a sign on their property indicating a pit bull lives there
5) Owners would have to notify police/animal control whenever their pit bull threatens, injures or  menaces any person or animal
6) Animal control and police have the authority to impound pit bulls not in compliance with any of the above (there would be a right to a hearing if this happened)

Naturally, this topic has become emotional on both sides. But in the letter sent by Allie Simone, acting director of the Worcester Animal Rescue League, the stakes have been raised (italics and bolding theirs):

The Worcester Animal Rescue League values the long standing relationship it has built with the City of Worcester. However, it is not currently held by a contract to accept impounded dogs found in Worcester. If this ordinance passes, the Worcester Animal Rescue League will no longer accept dogs from Worcester. The dedicated staff and supporters have worked too hard and advanced the organization too far in the quality of care given to its animals to suddenly reverse our no-kill, limited intake policies. This ordinance would be asking us to take a giant step backwards, becoming once again a kill shelter. We wish to be very clear: The Worcester Animal Rescue League will have no part in euthanizing dogs or any other animal due to breed discrimination.

Read the whole letter after the jump:

July 21, 2010

The Worcester Animal Rescue League has received considerable feedback from the public in response to Monday’s T&G article regarding the proposed muzzling ordinance. Clients, volunteers, WARL supporters and county residents are deeply concerned about the negative impact such an ordinance will have. Should this ordinance come to pass, we are certain that many dogs will be abandoned and consequently seized in record numbers.

And, where will they go? There is no official, city-financed “dog pound” in Worcester. The only facility in the city capable of accepting lost or abandoned animals is the Worcester Animal Rescue League. The Worcester Animal Rescue League is a private, non-profit, limited intake animal shelter, accepting pets only when space is available; Adoptable pets are not euthanized because of time or space constraints. This is our firm policy, and we have worked hard to make this a positive reality for the homeless animals of Worcester County. The Worcester Animal Rescue League currently has only 96 kennels for dogs and 41 cages for cats, plus a very limited number of foster home caregivers. On average, the WARL receives over 2,600 homeless animals each year. And, in the current economy, adoption rates have dropped while surrender rates have climbed.

We are very concerned that the City Council has not thought through the ramifications of the passing of this ordinance. Animal control officers were not consulted. County shelter administrators were not conferred with. What will happen to the numerous pit bulls, pit bull crosses and others mistakenly identified as pit bulls, all of which the city finds itself newly in possession of?

The Worcester Animal Rescue League values the long standing relationship it has built with the City of Worcester. However, it is not currently held by a contract to accept impounded dogs found in Worcester. If this ordinance passes, the Worcester Animal Rescue League will no longer accept dogs from Worcester. The dedicated staff and supporters have worked too hard and advanced the organization too far in the quality of care given to its animals to suddenly reverse our no-kill, limited intake policies. This ordinance would be asking us to take a giant step backwards, becoming once again a kill shelter. We wish to be very clear: The Worcester Animal Rescue League will have no part in euthanizing dogs or any other animal due to breed discrimination.

We all know that each animal is an individual. The staff and volunteers at the Worcester Animal Rescue League care for thousands of animals each year (including many wonderful pit bulls, which happily find forever homes throughout the county and beyond) and do not believe in discriminating
against a specific breed of animal. What’s more, most animal behaviorists agree that humans are the cause of the vast majority of behavior issues.

Alternatively to the City Council’s proposed plan, the Worcester Animal Rescue League believes establishing a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for pit bulls would be a much more effective program. We are convinced that a muzzling ordinance in Worcester will ultimately fail. Why? Muzzling does not prohibit breeding; what it does do is make a dog look more intimidating, which only satisfies the social/cultural needs of irresponsible owners who use the dogs as a status symbol.

According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), 75% of dog bites are caused by intact (that is, unneutered) male dogs. It is no wonder than that a proactive bite prevention program begins with a stricter enforcement of spay/neuter practices. This is simply common sense.

The Worcester Animal Rescue League has nearly 100 years of experience in such matters, and it welcomes members of our community and the Worcester City Council to tour the shelter, meet the staff and new director, and visit with all the great pets waiting for a home. Additionally, The Worcester Animal Rescue League hopes to work collaboratively with the City of Worcester in developing practical pet ordinances that serve all residents (both two and four-legged) of our community.

Respectfully,
Allie Simone, Acting Director

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

3 responses to “Worcester Animal Rescue League’s letter regarding the proposed pit bull ordinance

  1. Ted

    Then just let the WPD Shoot them.

  2. Because cops miss, Ted.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/crime-scene/baltimore/cop-shoots-dog-md-teen-hit.html

    Anything with teeth can bite. An all-inclusive dangerous dog law (that is actually enforced) is what will maintain public safety.

    Spay/neuter and enforced leash laws can and do go a very long way.

  3. Pingback: Pie and Coffee » 508 #121: SWIP

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s