Pawtucket Pit Bull Ban Being Challenged

Oct 4, 2013

The city of Pawtucket says it will defend its pit bull ban against a lawsuit challenging it.  The Pawtucket ban appears to conflict with state law.

Pawtucket banned pit bulls nine years ago.  The ordinance is now being challenged by pit bull owner Albert Alix and a group called Defenders of Animals.  They said the ordinance was invalidated when the General Assembly enacted a state law forbidding cities and towns from breed-specific bans on dogs and cats.  But Tony Pires, Pawtucket’s director of administration, said the ordinance is exempt from state law because it predates it.

"We recognize that folks may have objection to that. They have recourse obviously through the courts, also the legislature if they choose to in the next session would come in and clarify what their intent was," said Pires. "Until then we’re going to err on the side of public safety."

Pires says the pit bull ban has been enormously successful. Prior to its enactment Pawtucket recorded 71 pit bull attacks in four years.  In the last ten years there have been only 23.

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