Back in August, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed bill 2184 into law -- a law that was a fairly comprehensive animal control bill that, among other things, made targeting breeds of dogs in city ordinances illegal, including over-riding all current local breed-specific laws. It also restricts the amount of time a dog may be tethered, creates fudning for a statewide spay/neuter program, and bans the use of the gas chamber for euthanasia.
At the time, two cities in Massachusetts had outright bans on 'pit bull-type" dogs, while several others places restrictions on pit bulls.
Then, in Marshfield, animal control officer Deni Goldman explained the changes to their selectmen -- noting that "Basically what this does is make owners more responsible for the actions of their pets, rather than saying that the reason that a pet misbehaved was because it was a breed of a certain type."
Martha's Vinyard also appears to be making some changes to their local bylaws in order to comply with the new state law.
Meanwhile, the Telegram in Worcester, MA is reporting that that community has removed its breed restrictions without a lot of debate.
The same is true in Lowell, MA where Mike Keiley of the Animal Advisory Committee noted that now "Animal control is in a better position now to take the laws that are in effect and be able to protect people more effectively. Keily also noted that the state's provision prohibiting breed-specific legislation is progressive compared to other states.
I couldn't agree more.
Like Ohio earlier this year, the new state law in Massachussetts is bringing rapid change to many communities who had old, archaic laws on the books, and positive changes that include targeting aggressive dogs based on their behavior, not based on what they look like.