Officials in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, stated on Tuesday that the city will continue to enforce a Pit Bull ban enacted nearly a decade ago, even though the state’s General Assembly passed legislation this month forbidding cities and towns from banning specific breeds of dogs and cats, known as BSL.
"Pawtucket had a very serious problem. We had a number of incidents where citizen and children, were seriously injured by Pit Bull attacks," said Tony Pires, Pawtucket's Director of Administration and Public Safety. Ever since the ordinance was passed, there has been a dramatic decrease in attacks, he said in an interview with WPRI News.
City Council President David Moran told the Providence Journal that the city believes the law applies only to future bans. Pires explains that the wording of the new law does not state it is retroactive.
"I don't want anybody to read this as the city of Pawtucket being in defiance of any state law. We're very respectful of that, but we do think we're on the right side of the law," said Pires.
Representative Thomas Palangio, who sponsored the bill, says it is obvious the bill is retroactive.
"No specific breed of dog is intrinsically bad or vicious or dangerous. It is the owners or handlers that can make a certain dog vicious, but entire breeds of dogs should not be outlawed based on the way some of them are trained," said Palangio.
Both sides anticipate a legal challenge, but, at this point, WPRI reports no lawsuits have been filed.