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City Council Approve Dog Ordinances

September 29, 1987

Undated (AP) _ A Massachusetts city voted to stop the licensing of pit bulls while a town in Colorado approved a strict vicious-dog ordinance that could lead dog owners to jail and their dogs to death in the event of a canine attack.

In Colorado, the Thornton City Council passed the ordinance Monday night to stop an upswing of dog attacks.

″I’m so tired of seeing these children all torn up in the hospital and the irresponsible dog owners just getting slapped on the hand,″ said city animal control officer Karen Downing.

Jean Daniel, a Thornton resident whose 6-year-old son was mauled by a chow- mix last April, said, ″I hope the stricter laws and stricter fines will wake people wake up.″

The ordinance calls for owners of dogs running at large or those that injure people or other animals to face possible fines ranging from $50 to $300.

Dogs found to have inflicted severe bodily injury will be destroyed, and their owners will be fined $300 and jailed for five to 90 days under the ordinance.

″I love it,″ said Downing. ″We’ve had a lot of problems with vicious dogs in the past. Other cities have had conflicts with breed-specific laws. We want this to be constitutional.″

The Colorado community of Simla recently passed a ban on pit bull terriers, and one resident is challenging it.

In Springfield, Mass., the City Council voted to stop licensing pit bulls.

Despite pleas by owners and dog lovers that pit bulls should not be singled out, the council approved the ordinance proposed by City Councilor Vincent DiMonaco on a voice vote Monday.

The law prohibits the issuing of licenses for the American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bull terrier, Yankee terrier, pit dog or pit bull. Any of the dogs already licensed in the city would have to be kept restrained and their owners required to carry at least $100,000 in liability insurance.

″There is a macho attitude on the part of pit bull owners, who feel their dogs have basic rights that some human beings don’t have,″ DiMonaco said. ″The pit bull has become an assault weapon as much as a gun.″

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