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Despite strong opposition and lobbying efforts by concerned dog owners and the AKC, the Boston City Council approved a breed-specific dangerous dog ordinance on June 23rd. Prior to its passage, the measure was amended to include a mandatory spay/neuter provision for all “pit bulls.” Pit bulls are defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, or any mix of those breeds. The ordinance also:

  • Requires residents to register their pit bulls with the city at a cost of $50 annually.
  • Limits residents to a total of two pit bulls.
  • Requires owners to display a sign on their property stating a pit bull is located on the premises. Dogs must also be leashed and muzzled when in public.

Violators will be subject to a $100 fine and the pit bull will be immediately impounded. Exemptions are provided for animals participating in contests, shows or exhibitions within city limits, but animals may not remain in the city for more than two weeks.

The AKC strongly supports reasonable dangerous dog control. To provide communities with the most effective dangerous dog control possible, however, laws must not be breed-specific. Instead of holding all dog owners accountable for their behavior, breed-specific laws place restrictions only on the owners of certain breeds of dogs. If specific breeds are banned, owners of these breeds intent on using their dogs for malicious purposes, such as dog fighting or criminal activities, will simply change to another breed of dog and continue to jeopardize public safety.

What You Can Do:

Boston dog owners must now appeal to Mayor Thomas Menino for help in defeating this ordinance. The mayor has fifteen days to act on the measure, so time is of the essence. Please contact him TODAY and politely urge him to veto the “pit bull” ordinance.

The Honorable Thomas M. Menino
Mayor, City of Boston
1 City Hall Plaza
Boston, MA 02201
Phone: 617-635-4500
Fax: 617-635-3496

Points to Address:

  • Breed-specific laws are not the best way to protect communities. An owner intent on using his or her dogs for malicious purposes will simply be able to switch to another type of dog and continue to jeopardize public safety. The list of regulated breeds or types could grow every year without ever addressing responsible dog ownership. Deeds, not breeds, should be addressed.
  • Breed-specific laws are hard to enforce. Breed identification requires expert knowledge of the individual breeds, placing great burden on local officials.
  • Breed-specific laws are unfair to responsible owners.
  • Breed-specific laws increase costs for community. Shelter costs for the community could rise as citizens abandon targeted breeds, and adoptable dogs of the targeted breeds would be euthanized at the shelter.
  • Strongly enforced animal control laws (such as leash laws), generic guidelines on dealing with dangerous dogs and increased public education efforts to promote responsible dog ownership are all better ways to protect communities from dangerous animals.
  • Breed-specific legislation is opposed by the AKC, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Interest Alliance, National Animal Control Association, the ASPCA, and a host of national animal welfare organizations that have studied the issue and recognize that targeting breeds simply does not work.
  • The mandatory spay/neuter requirement will impact several breeds that are eligible to compete in AKC conformation dog shows. Since dogs must be unaltered to participate in these events, many responsible owners will be forced to give up a sport that both they and their dogs enjoy.


For more information, contact:

Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs
and Responsible Dog Owners

AKC's Canine Legislation department

Despite strong opposition and lobbying efforts by concerned dog owners and
the AKC, the Boston…