Opposition to Pit Bull Ordinances in Providence, RI sign now

To: The Honorable Mayor Mayor David N. Cicilline
Re: Pit Bull Ordinaces

We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens of the City of Providence and neighboring cities. While recognizing the concerns of Providence residents, we are extremely alarmed regarding the pit bull ordinances that are being proposed, which would have a negative impact on responsible, law-abiding dog owners. These ordinances would have an impact on not only Providence citizens, but also those who choose to visit Providence to show their dogs in legal events, to do business in the community, or to visit family and friends. Following are listed our specific concerns.

(1) Available data indicates that a dog of ANY breed can bite. Studies published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association conclude that there is NO reliable data identifying biting dogs by breed.
As well, the American Temperament Test Society has available results of dogs tested by them. As of December 2002, the following results were found:

(Number of dogs tested) [Percent of dogs passed]
American Pit Bull Terrier (405) [83.2\%]
American Staffordshire Terrier (437) [82.6\%]
Golden Retriever (612) [82.5\%]
Labrador Retriever (597) [90.6\%]
Shetland Sheepdog (426) [66.2\%]
Collie (722) [78.8\%]
This can be verified with the A.T.T.S. by calling them at (314)869-6103 or on the web at www.atts.org.

(2) The term pitbull is not a breed nor is it recognized by reputible breed organizations or kennel clubs. Pitbull is a variety of breed that describes American Pit Bull Terriers and mixes, American Staffordshire Terriers and mixes, and Staffordshire Terriers and mixes, and is often mistakenly used to describe other similar breeds (such as bull terriers and American bulldogs). It is very difficult or impossible to tell these breeds apart and, as a result, it is impossible to fairly enforce the proposed ordinaces.
(3) Cities that have tried to solve their dangerous dog problem by restricting or banning breeds have discovered that such laws do not work. Recently, Cincinnati, OH has repealed its ban on specific breeds and Baltimore, MD has removed all breed specific references from its ordinance, and PA prohibits any BSL.

(4) There is no reliable method by which to scientifically determine the breed of a dog. It is impossible to determine whether a mixed breed dog is 50\% of any particular breed. To require the owner of a mixed breed dog to prove that the dog is NOT 50\% of a targeted breed places an impossible burden on that citizen. The question of constitutionality comes into play here.

(5) The majority of the owners of targeted breeds are responsible, law-abiding citizens. The proposed ordinances unfairly brand these people as unreliable and irresponsible, solely because they own a targeted breed. Again, there is a question regarding the rights of citizens in regard to personal property. Additionally, we belive the irresponsible owners that are the real source of breed related concern will not be affected, as they will continue to own the dogs illegally or will create other, more dangerous breeds.

(6) It is the consensus of knowledgeable dog experts (as reported in the JAVMA article, "A Community Solution to the Dog Bite Problem") that targeting the owners and the specific dangerous dog, not breeds of dogs, is the key to addressing the dog bite and "dangerous dog" problems.

(7) It takes a large amount of funding for these ordinance provisions requiring the training, testing, and property examination. Passing laws that cannot be enforced increases citizen cynicism regarding effective government.

In summary, the proposed ordinances are unfair, costly to taxpayers to enforce, time consuming to enforcement agents, and unnecessary. We urge you to veto this ordinance.

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Clarissa AliBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
Petition target:
The Honorable Mayor Mayor David N. Cicilline


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