Sides prepare for battle over pit bull law

Sides prepare for battle over pit bull law

PAWTUCKET - Al Alix's lawsuit against the city of Pawtucket over its ban on pit bulls is in limbo after a judge ruled on a series of motions last Tuesday. The case will now move to another judge after Superior Court Judge Joseph Montalbano:

* Denied city attorneys' motion to throw out the case;

* Denied the city's argument that the Defenders of Animals does not have a right to be involved in the lawsuit because the city has not taken action against the organization or its members;

* And denied a request by Alix's attorney Mark Morse to rule in the plaintiff's favor in the matter.

Alix told The Breeze he's going to pursue his case to the end because he believes city officials are in the wrong for upholding their ban against pit bulls despite state legislation approved last year prohibiting local bans on the dog breed.

"They're just plain and simple violating my constitutional rights," he said.

The central figure in the case, Alix's pit bull "Chubs," will end up prevailing in the matter, said the city resident, and will show Pawtucket officials that they "are not above the law."

Dylan Zelazo, spokesman for Mayor Donald Grebien, said nothing about the case seems changed with Montalbano's rulings last week. He released the following statement on the matter:

"The city's position remains unchanged, that the law passed last legislative session is prospective in nature and does not apply to Pawtucket's law. The ordinance remains in effect and we will continue to enforce the law."

Last week's court date came after Pawtucket Municipal Court Judge John Gannon last year deferred any action on city citations against Alix until the court case is resolved.

Alix has been charged with violations of both the city's leash laws and its ban on pit bulls. Alix admits that he violated the city's leash law when he allowed Chubs to escape from his yard three straight nights last summer.

Alix originally told The Breeze he started noticing small yard items like decorative rabbits showing up in his yard. The items appeared to have been mangled by Chubs. When he realized that the items belonged to his lifelong neighbor on Harris Street, he offered to buy her new ones. But the neighbor said she had the items for the past 40 years and they had sentimental value that could not be replaced.

The neighbor filed a complaint with Animal Control Officer John Holmes, who later said he had "no choice" but to start proceedings to take the dog away.

Alix said he came about housing Chubs in early 2012 when his daughter moved away.