Worcester Pit Bulls Owners To Pay Additional Fee, Follow Other Rules

By Beth Germano, WBZ-TV

WORCESTER (CBS) — The city of Worcester is putting a short leash on pit bull owners, requiring additional registration and walking proof owners are in compliance with a new ordinance

The new regulations go into effect Friday requiring owners to muzzle their dogs in public, have them neutered, pay an additional $50 fee, and post signs on their property indicating a pit bull lives at their address.

“It’s hard to walk her, she’d rather pull it off,” said owner Christine Wardell of the mandatory muzzle.  “It’s not fair, it makes her look mean.” 

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.

The city says it’s tightening the reins because pit bulls are responsible for a significant number of dog-bite reports. 

“It’s not about pit bulls, it’s about one breed of dog that the city classifies as one breed that has 45 percent of our registered dog bites,” said city councilor William Eddy. 

Pit bull owner Joe Goodrich doesn’t deny there are mean dogs on the streets, but says his are not among them. 

“These irresponsible people over-breeding them.  My dogs are good dogs and they suffer for it,” he said. 

The city says it’s an attempt to make sidewalks and playgrounds safer, and many residents admit they are wary of the breed.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing to let people be aware where they are and let them make a decision on whether they want to walk down the street or walk by that house,” said resident Tara Malloy. 

For owners the price to pay is worth it to them, even as they complain they’re being singled out.   

“People should get educated on the breed. They’ll find out they’re not so bad,” said Goodrich.

More from Beth Germano
  • H. Wilson

    And all Italians are members of the Mafia… This is stupid, ignorant and right in line with the “thinking” we have come to expect form the morons who run all levels of government in MA.

    One of these idiots will probably be our next republican senator.

  • DogOwner

    I wonder if Worcester officials will target Labs next (http://www.examiner.com/dogs-in-national/what-dog-topped-the-bite-list-omaha-2010?CID=examiner_alerts_article). That article is about Nebraska but as a dog trainer and shelter volunteer I can say from experience that Pits have a better disposition than many other dogs I’ve worked with. A recent temperament study of dogs also rated Pits higher than the average dog (http://www.care2.com/causes/animal-welfare/blog/pit-bulls-have-better-temperament-than-average-dog/). Officials would do better to enact Dangerous Dog laws that target the offending dog rather than whole breeds based on the actions of a few.

  • Joey

    English Pointers point, Hounds chase game and bark, Golden Retrievers retrieve, and Pit Bull’s fight, bite, and kill. These 4 breeds were bread to do these task, and they are genetically inclined to continue to do so. The pit bull is no different. I am glad to see that Worcester is at the forefront of protecting their citizens against this dangerous and deadly breed called the American Pit Bull.

    • LC

      So all white people are slave owners. All Muslims are terrorist. That is what you are saying. You can not blame the entire breed on people are stupid and train the dogs to fight. There are bad golden retrievers too. How about stop blaming the dog and start blaming horrible owners. Are guns killers or is the person who pulls the trigger? I can see you saying guns kill people.

      • Big Ran

        BOOM! “Joey” just got ROASTED by James and LC!

      • KG

        I totally agree!

  • James

    Pit Bulls are also very intelligent and take to training very well. The issue is with owners that do not care for the dogs correctly or take the time to train them. Do they have the potential to do harm? Yes, as does any dog improperly trained or cared for. If someone cannot handle the breed, they shouldn’t own the dog. Blaming the dog is like blaming a gun for a murder or shooting rather than the owner of it.

  • Joey

    Does an English Pointer have to be “trained” to point? Of course not, it is genetically encoded. Pit bulls are genetically encoded to BITE AND NOT LET GO of the victim. Why deny this fact?

    • Big Ran

      Maybe Uncle Joey has a point. I’m Irish and I am currently drinking Jameson at work. I kid, I kid. Some people would argue that pedophiles are “genetically encoded” to do what they do. Perhaps we need to castrate them.

      • Irish Guidette

        Hey Big Ran- I’m also Irish and I’m currently doing the same thing in my cube @ work….of course I’m also 1/2 Italian, so I’m also eating a huge bowl of pasta and looking for good deals on “The Sopranos” DVD Box Set on Amazon…..

    • Pam

      APBT’s are genetically encoded to fight other APBT’s, not people. So, they aren’t good candidates to run free in a dog park… if a fight breaks out, they’ll most likely join in and finish it. APBT’s are not genetically encoded to fight and latch on to people. They weren’t bred to guard or attack people, like some other breeds.

  • KG

    Oh Joey- it’s really sad that you are so ignorant. As a proud pit bull owner, I can say that my dog (and the pit bulls owned by all of my friends) are the friendliest, happiest dogs. Are they big and strong? Absolutely! If they ‘snapped’ would there be an issue? Certainly! But, that could happen w/ any breed, large or small, strong or weak. So, as pit bull owners, we have to be aware of that and take the necessary precautions. Most owners are responsible and the dogs are very good. They are loyal family dogs and are extremely loving (despite the fact that they can act like overgrown little kids). You are clearly reading/hearing about only the bad situations because they are publicized. You need to educate yourself. Go to petfinder.com and read some of the pit bull’s stories and get back to me. I agree w/ Big Ran, James, and LC…..

    • Joey

      KG, do you agree that pit bulls were bred as fighting dogs? certain genetic traits were selected, including the ability to BITE AND NOT LET GO.

      Thanks for alerting me to the “pet finder” website for “education”. In return, I offer you two education websites that actually track dog bite statistics and human fatalities:


      Please educate yourself about fatal dog attacks.

    • lovemypitts

      KG I agree with you I have owned 3 Pitbulls in my life all of them were smart, and strong but also loyal and happy. I would never own another breed. Another thing is I want to know how they know for a fact that the attacks were from pitbulls? A pitbull looks very similar to an American Bulldog, and a boxer. Unless the dog was actually caught I find it hard to believe.

  • Diane G.

    I agree it’s not bad dogs it’s bad owners, but how do you monitor that? I have seen teenagers “trying” to make their pit mean. And I know for fact, if that dog bolts, that kid cannot hold onto it. But what guidelines can you set up? Maybe if there are fines and fees, the ones that get “status” dogs won’t because they don’t want to pay the price. A lot of people get pits for the “status” and fear factor. And they have no clue about the cost or care of a dog, so their answer, beat the dog into obedience. Seen it over and over. What does everyone here think the answer is? These type of owners don’t get the golden retriever or the poodle, and make them mean, they get the pits, rotties, dobies, chows, and sometimes shepards. Then once they get sick of walking the dog, or no one “fears” them, the dog sits in a pen with dirty water and not fed regularly or taken care of. My neighbor just got a pit puppy, he is cute as a button, the kid was walking him in the freezing cold the dog was shivering, I said buy your dog a coat, he’s cold he said no dogs don’t get cold. I picked the puppy up and he tried to get inside my jacket. What am I supposed to do? Fist fight a kid? Run with the dog. I know what he wants, a fearful animal so his friends will be impressed. “sigh”. And, pits are bred to fight, not bite people. Actually I’m more worried for my dogs than I am for myself when I see an unruly pit, the pit is going to go after my hippie yellow lab not me. Peace out

  • emom

    How about this,, MUZZLE ALL DOGS, PROBLEM SOLVED.. If that was the case I would not have been bit by a BULL DOG , chased by a doberman pincher, germanipped at by an ankle biter, or seen a lunging dog potentially ready to bit,,
    MUZZLE EVER DOG ON A LEASH AND THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED, Oh and tell me that little strap around the muzzle is safe,, it doesnt even prevent a dogs mouth to not open. its a slip over strap, they still can open their mouth to bit.

    • Pat

      Wow, you’ve been ‘attacked’ that many times? Either you’re a mailman or you’ve been taunting them…or maybe they just smell the fear and no what your master plan is (muzzles for all!)I don’ t know one other human being who has had so many nasty run-ins w/ dogs…..

      • emom

        NO I was a child when all these happened, all dogs where either behind a fence and jumped, on a 10 foot rope, in my back yard where I lived in an apartment building, or they were running loose because the owners where neglagent.. Hardly fearfull of any dog, only the ones that jump on you from behind or run up to you for no reason growling. , Oh and one dog jumped a 6 foot stockaid not once but over 6 times, they ended up putting her in a cage ,, OH and I was not her only target anyone that walked past the house was on her radar.. the shepard was running wild in the neghborhood, but HEY this was back in the days on no leash law, and so many folks thought nothing of restraining their dogs…… fear harldy only after the fact… BUT ITS THE FACT, all dogs if out on a leash has the mentality to bite therefore they need to be muzzled.

    • Big Ran

      Damn emom, you must smell like bacon because the canines are loving you. Better check yoself before you wreck yoself, cause canines bites is bad fo yo health.

      • emom

        well then let me tell you , If my back yard is not to be safe with a six foot stockade, and as a child I cant be safe there you tell me , what could I have done to provoke a dog, especially when it jumped over the fence from a neighbors yard,, yeah like I had any exposure to that dog, and when dogs run wild in the area thats my problem.. no its the owners that dont give a darn, we all know thats the real issue… MUZZLE EVERY DOG THEN THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED,,,, Oh by the way I have been around hundreds of dogs and never been bit by them,, It happened when I was young and that was many years ago,,

      • VD

        Seriously Emom- some of your ‘stories’ are hard to believe and you seem to be spinning webs to support your own agenda of wiping out all dogs. I can’t imagine dogs jumping over 6 feet barricades. Were these dogs on steroids? I’m having a really hard time w/ these…but to each, their own…..I’m not saying NONE of the incidents occurred, I’m just wondering if you are slightly embellishing them. Regardless, I hope you haven’t had any incidents like this happen recently

      • emom

        VD. really,, for your information it was a very large doberman pincher, she jumped the owners fence all the time ,,, she was a very powerfull dog driven to protect her babies. Like I said she had done this to many others just by them walking near the home I just happened to be living behind them, and yes she manageed to run and jump the fence ,, I too never thought it possible. but she had,, the owners had to find ways to prevent her from doing that ,,eventually a cage was put up then she was no longer there. she finally bit a few folks and a child walking with her mother. so tell me How do you figure I want to wipe out the dogs, I say since we see so many stories of dogs biting folks why not simply muzzle all dogs on a leash, makes sense ,,,, Oh and NO I have not embelsihed any of these stories, they did indeed happen but like I said I was a child , I have no fear of dogs, didnt then, it was careless humans not restraining them , and not knowing what they could do , like jumping a fence,, and when you have a dog and train it to growl , jump, and bark just because you walk past them, then how is that not a fearfull situation.. but you beleive what you want, ITS THE TRUTH.. by the way , some things dont change do they now.

  • laa

    pitbulls also attack sleeping 6 month old babies while they are sleeping… they can be good but most if not all should be no where near children.

    • FAP

      Well, you know what that means…if you have a pit bull AND a six month old, you can never let the baby sleep. At least not until they are seven months old.

      • Pat

        HILARIOUS! Fap! And Iaa–I’ve never heard of a pit getting into a 6 month old’s crib or bassinette! To quote a former NBA player, “them cats (or dogs, in this instance) are felonious!”

    • goody

      this is joe goodrich i was in the report lastnite. just want to let u know u dont know what ur talkin about so get educated. my pittys love kids and all people. thats how they should be. if u got a mean pitbull then u made it that way. know what your sayin before u give out false info. thank you

  • Linda

    As a proud Pittie owner, obviously people who do not have contact with one or own one cannot be experts. Fact of the matter is, nationally the biggest biter is the Labrador Retriever. I have owned a couple of those as well. i would not trade my Pittie for any other breed. Educate don’t hate. It is not the breed it is how they are raised. My Pittie would lick you to pieces, and I trust her around anybody.

    • Sue

      Linda- great point–I was going to bring that up, but you beat me to it! People need to be educated on the breed.

  • Linda

    Diane and anyone else, you should report any type of animal abuse. This is why these things happen because people turn a deaf ear and blind eye. There are organizations people can call and report abuse.

  • MJ All Day

    When I was in grammar school, our play yard abutted the backyard of a house with two Dobermans. They would often get loose and scare kids, but were harmless. Anyway, one day, the bell rings and we start running back in from recess when the dogs get loose and start running after me and my friend. I was running as fast as any eight year old in recorded history. The dog got close, his nose touched my butt, and I put it into an extra gear.

    There was actually nothing wrong with the dogs other than the owner not having control, but I wanted to share my story with everyone because I am awesome. Awesome and fast.

  • Denise

    There are bad animals just like bad people. Unfortunately these “regulations” tend to be dictated by the insurance companies! I was told if I decided to get another dobermin (my first was the biggest baby) that if I posted a BEWARE OF DOG sign that I was admitting I had a dangerous dog! So if someone got bite then I would definately be at fault. That is also why some insurance companies won’t insure you if you have specific types of dogs. In my experience the smaller the dog the more apt it is to bite!

    I think that the “owners” should be held responsible for their pets. if they get loose and go bite or destroy something then find/sue/whatever the owner. However if you’re on my property and I have it posted (as I feel it should be) and you get bite .. then it’s your fault not mine! If I’m not expecting you and or don’t know you I don’t want you around my house without my knowledge anyways! I’ve got a dog for protection not for looks!

    • Sue

      Great point Denise, I agree whole- heartedly!

  • Bill

    There are bigger issues people. End women’s suffrage now!

    • -Antoine

      If women want to work and vote, they should stop expecting us to pay on dates and hold the doors for them. I’m just sayin’…..Also, yes, I agree w/ people saying that it’s the owners not the dogs.

  • Rap Fan

    Does anyone know if “Pit Bull” the rapper actually owns Pit Bulls? I feel like he should, ya know? But if he does, I hope he trains them well and they don’t jump over fences and moats and stuff. If he trains them well, I think “pit Bull” could be a good role model for real Pit Bulls. Just be friendly, keep it real, don’t bite, and maybe collaborate with Lil’ John.

    • -Antoine

      Rap Fan- I’m not sure if he does, but obviously he must like them if he’d choose that as his name. But DMX does, however, he’s gotten in trouble before because he’s had too many and wasn’t taking care of them correctly, allegedly….but I think the man is trying to keep Dark Man X down……he’s got ill rhymes and beats…..the man just be hatin’ on him…..anyway, maybe DMX and Pitbull can do a collabo w/ Lil Jon and the video can be shot w/ all sorts of dogs in it.

      • Rap Fan

        Antoine – thanks for your input and i really like your ideas. Do you know any of DMX’s representatives? I think they should all collaborate and give proceeds to Pit Bull rescues.

        Michael Vick also set the Pit Bull movement back many years. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife, and hide yo pit bulls too, cause Mike Vick r@pin’ errbody up in here.

  • -Antoine

    Rap Fan- That is an awesome idea! “Pitbull and the Homies for pitbulls”—- I love it. Michael Vick seems to have learned from his mistakes (no excuses for them though- he did them dogs real dirty), so maybe he could do a public service announcement to raise even more proceeds. I think on X’s website there might be contact information for his crew…..I wonder if we could get them to come to Worcester and talk to the legislators who passed this felonious law…..anyone else feel us? Let’s make this happen. HOLLAAA!!!

    • Rap Fan

      Antoine – maybe if we e-mail through DMX’s, Pit Bull’s, and Lil’ John’s websites or fan clubs? Maybe that would work.

      Hey if a dog deserve a second chance, so does mike vick. Every dog has his day, right?! I would like that dude Joey to actually learn facts about dogs before he go and disparage them, you know? I mean, I get that he probably has like 14 cats, but dogs can be great too!

      • -Antoine

        Agreed brotha— maybe he got some birds too—or maybe a miniature pony…..but no love for man’s best friend—it’s a crying shame!

  • Pat

    Wow, “Rap Fan and Antoine”–you’ve both really added a new perspective to this issue. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your banter.

  • http://boston.cbslocal.com/2011/04/01/worcester-man-wont-be-charged-with-killing-pit-bull/ Worcester Man Won’t Be Charged With Killing Pit Bull « CBS Boston

    […] incident came a day before new tough restrictions on pit bull ownership took effect in the […]

  • EH

    Yup, muzzle the dogs. While we’re at it, take away all the guns, then maybe get rid of the cars, since more people are hurt by cars than by dogs. I once got burned by a hot stove, we should get those banished as well. Had a pretty nasty paper cut a few weeks back, guess I’ll sue the paper company.
    People need to be held responsible for their own actions (or inactions when it comes to training and socializing an animal). I’m not a pit bull owner, but am sympathetic. I have a Rottie (my second) – great dog and one of the biggest wimps at the park.
    It’s not the dogs people – it’s the stupid people

  • Mike in Mass

    Pit bulls should be banned and anyone who wants or has a pitbull should be banned. I love the new law. Hoe many pitbull owners have half a brain? We can use this new banning law to rid the population of the weak.

  • GB

    One of the most common snese laws to be put on th books in any town or city in this state. Whomever voted for this should be running this State. I applaud the new law!!!

  • chris

    I just saw the news clip about the new pit bulls law in Worcester MA and my parents live there I talk to my mom every week because I live in GA and my mom told me that her neighbor own a pit bull not register and wasn’t on a leash and knock down my front gate and was ready to attack but my brother in law was there with his dog who is like a son to him protect my parents and got bit by the pit bull and to save my parents and his dog my brother in law ended up stabbing the dog but animal right group and the dog owner are saying that my brother in law didn’t really have to kill the dog and they were so mean to my brother in law but I wanted to tell you this because my mom won’t give interview so here it go that accidence put my mom in the hospital my brother in law is having hard time dealing with this whole thing that he is going through counselling and my nephew/my sister dog is going through a lot too have to get shots and medications and the pit bull owner don’t want to take the responsibility for what her dog had done let just say it wasn’t another dog what if it was a child than what this is what i have to say if you want to own a dog like that you need to be responsible

  • http://boston.cbslocal.com/2011/04/20/lowell-considers-new-pit-bull-rules-after-woman-attacked/ Lowell Considers New Pit Bull Rules After Woman Attacked « Lowell Considers New Pit Bull Rules After Woman Attacked « CBS Boston

    […] the beginning of the month new rules went into effect in Worcester where pit bulls require additional registration and walking proof that owners are in compliance […]

  • cas

    What is the new law?

  • mike

    Well okay lets ban the deed and not the breed like all you pitt and rott owners want. No breed specific legislation but when you dog mauls or kills someone you go to jail for attempted murder or murder (automatic) no excuses. Most pitt and rott owners won’t go for this because they know that their breeds have killed more people than all others combined. And it was not always a bad owner some were family pets for years before they randomly went off. And if your dog kills another dog how about a 5K penalty to said owner. All pitt rott owners should not have a problem with these laws since it is not breed specific and their breeds are so wonderful right!

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