Taunton, MA asked in Animal / Dog Law for Rhode Island

Q: Is it legal in Pawtucket to own a pitbull?

I'm getting conflicting information. I'm a landlord and a potential tenant moving from MA has a Pitbull.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Neville Bedford
Neville Bedford
  • Licensed in Rhode Island

A: Here are the regulations: from http://ecode360.com/8129136#8129255

§ 116-37.1 Pit bulls prohibited.

[Added 12-11-2003 by Ch. No. 2708]


It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell within the City any pit bull dog.


Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:


Any person who possesses, keeps, exercises control over, maintains, harbors, transports or sells a pit bull, whether or not that person is the owner.


Any person who owns, possesses, keeps, exercises control over, maintains, harbors, transports or sells a pit bull.


Any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier; or any dog of mixed breed displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds, the characteristics being identifiable even if there are technical deficiencies in any particular dog's conformance thereto; or any dog identifiable by a licensed veterinarian, animal control officer or any other knowledgeable person whose identification is deemed credible by the Public Safety Director or the Animal Control Officer, as having any American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier as any element of its breeding.


A ecure enclosure used for purposes of transporting a pit bull and which includes a top and bottom permanently attached to the sides except for a "door" for removal of the pit bull. Such enclosure must be of such material, and such door closed and secured in such a manner, that the pit bull cannot exit the enclosure on its own.


Exceptions. The prohibition of this section shall not apply in the following enumerated circumstances.


The owner or keeper of a pit bull that is registered and licensed with the City Clerk on the date of passage of the ordinance enacting § 116-37.1 may apply for a pit bull license, to be renewed annually. After this date no pit bull licenses will be issued. Any owner or keeper, who has applied for and received a pit bull license in accordance with Subsection D of this section, and who maintains the pit bull at all times in compliance with the pit bull license requirements of Subsection D of this section and all other applicable requirements of this section, may keep a pit bull within the City. Notwithstanding the prohibition of Subsection A, in the event of the death of a licensed pit bull that was registered and licensed with the City Clerk on the date of the passage of this section, the owner or keeper may own another pit bull and must apply for an annual pit bull license, provided that the owner or keeper has not at any time violated any provision of this section.


The City's municipal animal shelter may temporarily harbor and transport any pit bull for purposes of enforcing the provisions of this section.


Any humane society operating an animal shelter which is registered and licensed by the City may temporarily hold any pit bull that it has received or otherwise recovered, but only for so long as it takes to contact the City's municipal animal shelter and either turn the pit bull over to the municipal animal shelter employees or receive permission to destroy or have destroyed the pit bull pursuant to the provisions of Subsection E.

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