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Christenson sends pit bull law back to City Council

Posted by Matt Byrne  April 20, 2012 02:00 PM

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Malden Mayor Gary Christenson sent back to the City Council a controversial ordinance that would have required pit bulls to wear muzzles when outside their owners' homes.

"The ordinance should be centered on how a dog behaves and not how a dog looks, as I believe this legislation suggests," Christenson wrote in a letter to the council that outlined an amended version of the law.

"The amendment I offer squarely addresses the behavior on the part of both the dog and the owner."

Christenson wrote that the previous ordinance was narrow and could have opened the city up to legal challenges.

Less an amendment than a proposed overhaul of dog law in Malden, the proposed changes would define for the first time an irresponsible dog owner, and expands the definition of a dangerous dog to include more than just breed or a known propensity to bite.

It also includes a provision to address the so-called "intimidation" factor.

Licensing fees for dangerous and vicious dogs also would increase $50; a non-compliance penalty of $300 per day for unregistered vicious dogs could also apply, if Christenson's amendment is adopted.

For more information about the proposed law, or to read the text and see Christenson's full letter to the council, visit the city website.

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