Action Alert for Waterville, ME residents

Police Chief Massey is planning to ask the Waterville City Council to consider an ordinance that would have “pit bulls” muzzled in public or possibly banning certain breeds from Waterville.

Nothing has been proposed or is before the city council at this time. Residents need to reach out to the city NOW before an ordinance is proposed.

It is important to note that Maine state law prohibits municipalities from passing breed specific ordinances. In addition to voicing your polite, respectful and informative opposition to BSL, please share your ideas and suggestions on how the city can curb irresponsible dog ownership and create a better community for the citizens and animals of Waterville.

Chief Massey

Executive Assistant
Kathleen Kenney-Haley

Police Department
City of Waterville
1 Common Street
Waterville, ME 04901
Phone: (207) 680-4700
Fax: (207) 680-4717

September 27, 2011 article

Another Dog Mauling Sparks Debate Over Breed Banning
by Rob Poindexter – December 5th 2011 07:04pm –

Waterville – In Waterville, another child has been mauled by a pit bull. Waterville’s Police Chief Joe Massey is once again calling for something to be done by lawmakers about dangerous dogs.

According to Massey a 5-year-old boy was violently mauled by a pit bull in his home last week. “Very severe injuries that required that the child be brought to the hospital and it’s recommended that they have reconstructive surgery to repair the injuries to the face of this particular child,” Massey said Monday.

Massey says the pit bull that attacked the boy was given to the family. “The mom accepted the dog as a gift 16 hours before that dog bit the child. Without any knowledge of the dog or its history.”

The dog involved of this latest attack is under quarantine at the Waterville Humane Society and may be put down. In August a pit bull attacked two Waterville children in the same house in the same week. That dog was put down. By law owners of dangerous dogs can be fined up to $1,000. Massey says he’s tried unsuccessfully to persuade state lawmakers to sponsor legislation that would make the penalties for dog owners more severe if their dog attacks someone. “I don’t see the legislature at the state level increasing those penalties,” Massey said. “I think again they view it as we’re dealing with a family pet. America’s love for the dog.”

Massey is planning to ask the Waterville City Council to consider an ordinance that at the very least would have dangerous dogs like pit bulls muzzled in public or possibly banning certain breeds from Waterville. That idea makes Massey a target for criticism. He’s received letters from all over the country blasting him for the proposal. One email even equated breed specific legislation to racism. “I’ll wear that hat if it means protecting folks against these type of vicious, vicious bites,” Massey says. Massey says he did get a call from PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals) who are on board with the idea of spreading awareness about the dangers of certain dogs.

One of Massey’s chief critics on this issue is dog trainer Scott Towers. He says the problem is the owner not the dog and it’s unfair to single out the breed. “Dogs are 5% genetics and 95% environment,” Towers said at the Waterville Humane Society. “So it always comes down to where they live.” Towers also points out that this isn’t the first time individual breeds have been singled out. “In the 70’s it was a doberman. Then in the 80’s it was the Shepherds. Well how many police canines are shepherds? In the 90’s it was the Rottweiler. In 2000 it’s the Pit Bull. The reason is because it’s popular,” Towers said. Towers says the Dalmation is the number one man biter among dogs, not pit bulls.

Massey says he plans to research similar ordinances in other cities and towns before deciding on his next course of action. “I don’t want to propose some ban that’s not well researched and maybe has not gone to court yet to see whether or not it will hold scrutiny.”


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