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Pit bull supporters rally against breed ban

A pit bull puppy named "Niner" stole the show at a rally in Medford this afternoon protesting any breed-specific bans.

The words "Don't ban me" on Niner's shirt summed up the feelings of the 35 area residents who showed up at the Mayor's Fountain across the street from City Hall.

"They should look at the owners, not the dogs," said Kim Parliament, whose family owns the three-and-a-half-month-old puppy. "They are such a strong animal. It's important that you teach them rights and wrongs."

The rally was organized after the City Council last week asked the Police Advisory Committee to recommend ways to deal with dangerous dogs.

Medford police have recorded 89 attacks by dogs in three years, of which more than half were by pit bulls or pit bull mixes. Police also say pit bulls are the dog of choice for drug dealers.

Some cities in the country have banned pit bulls, while others have opted for sterilization or muzzle laws. In some cases, cities have banned pit bulls and other breeds considered dangerous from city parks.

The Police Advisory Committee will hold a public hearing to seek suggestions on ways to deal with dangerous dogs.

The council wants the committee to come up with a recommendation that will offer a proactive means for law enforcement to deal with dangerous dogs.

Also, the committee will recommend various levels of punishment to deal with irresponsible dog owners who are repeat offenders.

The council has asked for recommendations by April.

— Damian Mann

A pit bull puppy named 'Niner stole the show at a rally in Medford this afternoon protesting any breed-specific bans. - Julia Moore