There's a Good Dog

By Kimberly Jones | Boston Magazine |

In 2004, after a string of violent incidents involving pit bulls, Boston imposed myriad restrictions on the breed’s owners, including requiring them to muzzle their dog, post a warning sign in front of their home, and send a photo of their animal to authorities each year. In that last rule, some owners have found a way to actually defend their pet: They’ve taken to submitting pictures of overtly innocent-looking—and frequently silly-costume-wearing—pit bulls, in the hope that the images will show that the dogs are lovable, not fearsome. "A ridiculous ordinance deserves an equally ridiculous photo," says Juliette Hannan, owner of Mighty.

As the city gears up to review its pit bull regulations—it’s now forming a committee for the task—the snapshots have at least softened the heart of one of the dogs’ biggest critics: Charles Rudack, who as animal control officer told the city council four years ago that pit bulls are "time bombs" that "kill and will kill again." He’s since become the department’s acting director—i.e., the guy receiving the cutesy pictures. And although he’s still no pit bull lover, Rudack admits the snaps have changed his thinking. "There are a lot of good owners, you can tell," he says. "I’ve realized I have to keep a very open mind."

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