Pawtucket Rhode Island loses battle to keep ban
Court rules that Pawtucket can’t ban pit bulls
City officials haven't decided if they'll appeal
By ETHAN SHOREY, Breeze Online News Editor
PAWTUCKET – A Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of Pawtucket pit bull owner Al Alix in his lawsuit against the city over its 2004 ban on pit bulls.
The decision means Alix can keep his pit bull, “Chubs.”
“I can’t tell you how good it feels, just to prove the city wrong,” Alix told The Breeze on Tuesday. “I had no doubt it was going to come out in my favor."
Alix said he believes his lawsuit against the city cost him the chance to earn a seat on the Pawtucket School Committee, but he’s still happy he fought the city on the issue.
Judge Brian Van Couyghen backed the claims of Alix and the Defenders of Animals against Pawtucket’s breed-specific ban on the dog breed.
City attorney Steve Schonhoff said officials haven't yet decided whether they'll appeal the decision. Once a written order is issued, attorneys will look at that and the transcript of the case before deciding on an appeal, he said.
Schonhoff said he can't say whether he was surprised by the decision or not.
Attorney Mark Morse represented both the Defenders of Animals and Al Alix in the case.
In July 2013, a bill passed and became law that banned cities/towns from passing ordinances that banned specific breeds. It was the contention of Defenders of Animals that Pawtucket could no longer enforce their ordinance that prevented Pawtucket residents from owning pit bulls. Attorneys for Pawtucket contended that the 2013 bill was not retroactive, and therefore didn't apply to their ban.
The head of the Defenders of Animals is Dennis Tabella, who also serves as executive director of Woodlawn Community Development and the Woodlawn Community Center in Pawtucket.