Pitbull Laws - Boston's Idiotic Pit Bull Ordinance

Who is getting licensed? Me or the Dog?

Today I received in the mail a notice from Boston Animal Control. Apparently my most recent visit to the vet resulted in the veterinarian narking on me about having a pit bull because all I got in the mail from Animal Control was a slim piece of paper showing info about her rabies vaccine and then an Application for Pit Bull Dog License form.

In addition to the usual evidence you need to provide for any dog license (spay/neuter certificate and rabies certificate), I also have to provide:

  • a photo of my dog (taken within 30 days)
  • a photo of me (taken within 30 days)
  • Written permission from the homeowner acknowledging permission to have a pitbull
  • Signatures acknowleding compliance with muzzle law and signage on my front lawn.

Louise looks for bears on Tioga Rd, Yosemite NP
Louise looks for bears on Tioga Rd, Yosemite NP

I have to put up a sign visible from a 100 feet away that says "Pit Bull Dog" or "Beware of Dog"

Since I can't pick up and move to New Hampshire as I'd like to do (oh, and I really would if it was fiscally viable at the moment), I'm going to have a custom sign made up that says "Pit Bull Dog on Premises -- But it's the Owner who Bites"

I'm going to continue to be a scofflaw on the muzzle issue. There doesn't seem to be a single dog owner in the entire city who pays any attention to the leash laws here so I feel fairly safe at the park without the damn muzzle, but I wouldn't be surprised if Animal Control did drive-by checks on the lawn. I'd love to know how someone who lives in an apartment building is going to handle this requirement. Ask the landlord if they can put a big sign in front of the apt building? Or maybe a sign in front of their apt. door? Yeah, that's effective.

Y'know, there are so many reasons to loathe Massachusetts and its socialist agenda, but this is really the straw that breaks the camel's back.

My "Vicious" Pit Bull

Yup, She's a Killer, Alright!
Yup, She's a Killer, Alright!

You'll note she's actually a Pit Bull mix and not a pure Pit. Both must be licensed and the definition of "pit bull" is basically any dog any animal control officer says is a Pit Bull. The law specifically states that the Animal Control officer is the sole determiner of breed.

Photos from my Sidekick

The photos above were taken on our Road Trip across country in 2005. I was in Colorado and really needed to nap. Once I took over the front seats, the only place left for Louise was the dashboard.

I woke to find people pointing and giggling. :)

I love this pic -- she hates having her picture taken!
I love this pic -- she hates having her picture taken!

More by this Author

Comments 30 comments

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

So strange that policy is! Yes, your dog looks extremely vicious... I believe there are some violent pit bulls and some that are as sweet as lambs.

embitca profile image

embitca 9 years ago from Boston Author

Yep, she's a monster :)

There are definitely violent pit bulls... and violent Rotties, Dobermans and Poodles. And some of the tiniest dogs have the nastiest tempers of all. I always believe caution is best observed around all dogs, but there's a line between common sense and insanity!

Molly 8 years ago

I'm going to be moving to an apartment that allows dogs, and the current renter had a sweet pit bull. When I looked at the apartment I didn't see a "WARNING PIT BULL" Sign... but that could have been because the apartment was being shown (though the dog was there) and I didn't have a chance to ask the dogs owner about the muzzle ordinance. Have you complied with this? Noticed any other pit bulls? Know any other folks who have? Thanks!

embitca profile image

embitca 8 years ago from Boston Author

You gotta wonder how any apt. dweller would deal with the ordinance.

Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

That's ridiculous! I know BSL is everywhere, but I've never heard of the licenses. At least you are able to keep her. Many BSL ordinances do not allow even that much.

I know that in the area where I live, there are currently no BSL laws, yet, but no apartment will allow the breed, nor will they allow, Rotts, Dobermans, etc. I think it's obsured!

The lady I used to volunteer for, has fought to no end against BSL; she's the head person in our state fighting it.

I know if it comes down to it I'll move before I give up my dog! It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about what would happen to her...

In a town about 45 minutes out, the cops took any dog they thought was a "pit bull" and put it in the pound. Those dogs included Catahoula female with pups, a white boxer, and others. Dogs that were very much NOT of the "pit bull" variety, but with ignorance, they took them. The founder of the dog shelter, had her American Bulldog up there one day and they told her she needed to muzzle her bc they thought she was a "pit," but she had the pedigree to prove otherwise. It was great.

Boss Number 1 profile image

Boss Number 1 8 years ago from Stayton, OR

I think the whole thing is crazy. I watched the saddest show the other day detailing how the neighbor of a pitbull owner took it upon himself to let the dog out of the owner's yard, lure the dog to his own yard, and then shot the dog 5 times, just because it was a pitbull. Forget the fact that the dog had never actually done anything vicious, had never bit anyone, etc. There's such a fear surrounding the breed, but I have a pit mix, a lab mix, & a pointer mix, and out of my 3 dogs, my pit is the one who wants to cuddle, hug, & give kisses. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this.

Star_78 profile image

Star_78 8 years ago

I'm a pitbull owner myself...I completely agree with you that having to do all those things are just RIDICULOUS! It frustrates me that people just label pitbulls as a vicious breed, & yet they aren't vicious at all...they're the most loyal & loving breed that I know. Don't get me wrong, I have other dogs as well...two little pomeranians. I love them too! My pitbull is my baby...she's always watching over me & is like my tail & goes everywhere I go.

I was reside in Hawaii...where, knock on wood, there aren't any laws against pitbulls. However, I was actually looking in to relocating to Massachusetts in the next 2 years or so. I wasn't aware of that law existing there...I guess this may change my decision, as I wouldn't trade my pitbull for anything in the world!

I think that law is silly & they should definitely relook at it!!!

Amy Smith 8 years ago


I think that's its crazy.Where i live they actual OUTLAWED pits and pit miexs one town over. I also agree with the statement that any dog can be vicious. I too have a pom and she can be something else. ( she when after a rottie after it attacked her). We jus got a boston terrier/ pit mix, only 8 weeks old and she is a sweety. with love and respect she will be a good dog.

Pitbulls 8 years ago

That's shocking, I can understand when an individual has a problem with Pitbulls, I always just think of them as ignorant but the fact that it's the lawmakers who are this ignorant, that’s just scary.

She really does look like a monster!!

Meg 7 years ago

I have a pitbull 6 month old baby girl! i love her to death. When i was little i was attacked by a small white fluffy dog...People are so ignorant about pitts. It does not mattwe what kind of Dog..it depends on how the dog is raised. Yes Pit Bulls are more athletic and have more muscles but they are so sweet and love to please their owners. PIT BULLS ARE AMAZING!! I am going to Graduate college in the spring and i am trying to relocate with my babygirl but i am having trouble finding a place. Does anyone have any Boston Apartment Sugestions? thanks!

Shanga 7 years ago

OK, time for another point of view. Boston has gone too far with the sign requirement, and muzzle requirement, but I think a leash requirement is warranted. My dogs, both of them very friendly and well behaved, have been attacked three times in Boston parks. Every single time it was either a pit or a pit mix. I've raised several hunting dogs, so I understand instinct, which is why I feel safe in saying that pits aren't mean animals, but they do have some instincts that can make them difficult. Perhaps if you start from a pup you can raise a pit without the aggressive side, but most of the pits and pit mixes come from shelters and unknown backgrounds. So, how about a balanced discussion that admits to some breed tendencies.

embitca profile image

embitca 7 years ago from Boston Author

Shanga, Boston already has a leash law and has had one for years. What the City needs to do is ENFORCE the leash law for ALL BREEDS. It currently does not. I've never seen any enforcement personnel at the parks that I've been to that are rife with scofflaws and dogs off leash.

I always walk my dog on a leash unless we are out in the woods with no one around. And I cannot tell you how many times aggressive dogs off leash have approached us and if something happens, it is my dog who gets blamed because of her breed. And not a single unleashed dog I've had to fend off with a FOOT UP THE ASS has ever been a pit bull. Unleashed dogs are a menace, regardless of breed.

Eternal Evolution profile image

Eternal Evolution 7 years ago from kentucky

BSL is ridiculous and it's so sad that they are trying to ban these wonderful pets. I think the whole putting a sign on your property because you own a pit is stupid, i can't believe they are making you do that. "The law specifically states that the Animal Control officer is the sole determiner of breed." depending on the officer a lot of dogs may be a pit bull then, i think everyone needs to learn their facts about pits. Great hub, and I'm glad you got to keep Louise he's a cutie. we have a pit bull mix he's half American Pit Bull Terrier and half American Bulldog, he's my baby and i love him so much.

fostermom 7 years ago

There are approximately 5 million dog bites in the US per year and in 2007, there were 33 fatal dog bites in the US. It is true that more people are killed by pitbulls and rottweilers than other breeds, but dogs that bite badly enough to necessitate hospital visits come from many breeds. In the '90s, after the United Kingdom banned pitbulls, there was no accompanying decrease in bites.

These silly sign and muzzle laws aren't going to do any good. We need to teach people how to control their dogs and we need to teach people how to behave around dogs. Runners should not come right up behind a dog and if a dog gets loose, people should not run away from them.

Instead, because dogs are everywhere, kids should be taught appropriate behavior around them from an early age and dog owners should be required to pass obedience classes with their dogs.

Pitbull Owner 7 years ago

i have a pitbull also, that's what interested me in this. My dog is so much like yours, as sweet as ever but just because of the name "pitbull" everyone thinks that she is vicious. i have a question though, is yours a mix pit? What is she mixed with?


embitca profile image

embitca 7 years ago from Boston Author

Yep, mine is mixed. I have no idea with what though.

charby60630 7 years ago

I am planning to move to the Boston area and have a pit bull mix (which everyone just considers a pitbull). He is a sweetheart and well mannered - but clearly the law doesn't care about dog behavior , just breed. Pit bull rescue is becoming more popular in Chicago. I would think Boston would be ahead of us! I guess I will have to move to the Boston ' burbs.

embitca profile image

embitca 7 years ago from Boston Author

Yes, you are better off in the burbs! You might want to google different communities you are thinking about and seeing if any of them have restrictions, just in case.

Steve 6 years ago

I set up a 'line up wall' with height measurements and placed a placard around my PB's neck with her license # for the required photo. It's a cute 'mug shot'.

my3dogz2005 6 years ago

I was just vacationing up at the beach w/ my 14 month old Pit Bull and my 9 year old Chihuahua. of course the area I was at had that 1 person that's fearfull of Pit Bulls. I had to leave with the dogs, The kinda funny thing is when the property manager came to talk to me, The PB never got up from laying under my chair, but the chihuahua launged out of my arms in attack mode.. I laughed telling the guy, see you should worry about renting to chihuahua owners not PB owners..

mazey12 6 years ago

my dog she looks just like that we think the mom is a pit no one knows but shes mix with lots of breeds that are so called mean doberman lab boxer and maybe pit and she loves all kids even thought she livedd in a house of mean ppl her first 7 weeks of her life and the kid behind mee is mean to her and lots of kids hurt her she still loves them she wont hurt a fly she will only lick them to death no joke

deidra  6 years ago

im 13 and been around pit bulls for a long time iv heard of bsl and the liscence but it is really stupid about the muzzl....i have a 10 week old pit puppy now and my neighbors gave called animal control because he was a pit bull and they were scared so now he has to stay on a leash and cant even run in the park but my lab can wish people would understand the breed and rottweilers iv always had rotts but we live in townso my uncle has my rottweiler since she grew up in the country we wanted her to stay were she is happy......bsl sucks......

pitbull 6 years ago

yes bsl sucks and it's sad my dog jade was left at home last friday she was runover with the truck and had a sprained ankle i left the back door open for her and made sure the gates were closed wasn't worried she would jump the fence she has never jumped it before and had a sprained ankle the city meter reader came by he knows she is real friendly and has no prob coming in the yard when she is there but he left the gate open and she walked out of the yard into the neibours yard adn got busted by animial control the officer never had to deal with a pit before and she said she was a little nervous but she opened the back door of the truck to get a leashe and she jumped in the back of the truck and sat and waited to go for a ride since the lady never delt with one before she thought oh perfect i just take her like this and she said was the best behaved dog in the truck she ever seen and she had question after question about how come she was so good i said because she is a pitbull and has the right owner who looks out for her and is very rarely left by herself if she wouldn't have been hurt she would have been at work the meter reader feels guilty too he has offered to pay half of the money for the ticket and her stay at the spca he said he closed the gate but didn't make sure it was latched so that's cool and the gates got pad locks now to keep people from frogeting to latch them

Austin 5 years ago

My dog Simba looks exactly like your dog same color same everything and he is the most sweetest dog you could ever have we found him when he was a puppy because someone left him out side in a box with a can of beef stew we knew that he was a pit so we tried to train him before hand so that when he grew up he would be mean and i guess we taught him good because he has never hurt or harmed anyone. when ever i go home all he does is use his two arms and he thinks its funny but he grabs my feet. And your dog is definitly not vicous at all.

Pit lover  5 years ago

In my opinion it's not about the breed it's about how the owner raises the dog it being and pit, yorkie, anything. Just because dumb ass people gave these dogs a bad name doesn't mean it's all dogs !!


Marie H 5 years ago

I had a situation where my neighbors who let there cats roam around and in my yard, my pit mix would bark and chase them out, I complained to animal Control and they did not care but told me if my dog catches one she will be held fo dangerous dog and pit bulls don't come back from dangerous dog

Candy  5 years ago

This actually pisses me off. There are treating pitbulls totally different when there are other dogs more viscous out there. I had a pitbull and she was the best dog ever. They are trying to kill off the breed and I don't find that right. There has gotta be a way to fight this

lilmissmuffitt 4 years ago

I thank you!! We need more pitbull educated , articulate people like you on our side. I have a pitbull and live in S.Boston. My dog CANNOT wear a muzzle due to the fact that it bothers her so much that she literally bloodies up her nose on the cement trying to get it off. I can't win.Other than that, she is the sweetest dog you would ever meet. People are just ignorant and it is discrimitatory against the breed.

sue 4 years ago

I think this law is fantastic. If you have a dangerous dog and don't care, that is your problem. All those steps are to prevent others from being harmed.

embitca profile image

embitca 4 years ago from Boston Author

I don't have a dangerous dog. That's the damn point. And if Boston enforced the leash law, which it doesn't, there wouldn't be any need for breed specific legislation.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article