The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Ohio Won’t Label Pit Bulls ‘Vicious,’ But Bexley Still Can The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Ohio Won’t Label Pit Bulls ‘Vicious,’ But Bexley Still Can

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ohio Won’t Label Pit Bulls ‘Vicious,’ But Bexley Still Can

Picture of pit bull
Bexley officials are not likely to welcome pit bulls into their community, despite passage of legislation yesterday to end labeling of the dogs as “vicious” animals under Ohio law.

Ohio is the only state with a law labeling a specific breed of animal as vicious. But the state’s shift from that will not affect local ordinances regarding pit bulls or any other breed of dog.

“Any city that is a charter city does not have to follow the state law and can continue to have their own ordinance,” said Lou Chodosh, Bexley city attorney.

“I will be very surprised if Bexley changes its pit-bull law.”

Bexley bans the breed.

“I think I can speak for the (police) chief,” Chodosh said, “that he feels very strongly that these dogs are dangerous.”

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Barbara Sears, R-Toledo, agreed that the change in the state law does not compel Bexley or any other community to change ordinances restricting pit bulls. A handful of other communities in Franklin County have laws about “vicious” dogs but do not specify a breed.

For instance, Columbus bans owners from allowing their animals to run at large off their property. Violators face misdemeanor charges and up to 60 days in jail, or up to 180 days if their pet bites someone, said Bill Hedrick, chief of staff in the Columbus city attorney’s office.

The state’s change, he said, “doesn’t prohibit us from dealing with dogs which are problematic."

Yesterday, the House voted 67-30 to agree with Senate changes to House Bill 14 and send the legislation to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

Supporters say that Ohio’s 25-year-old law labeling pit bulls as vicious discriminates against a specific breed of dog and has required dog owners to carry expensive liability insurance for their pets regardless of their behavior.

“Breed-specific laws imply that pit bulls, by their very nature, are vicious and are the only types of dogs that can attack without provocation, but this is simply not the case,” Sears said.

The legislation allows dogs showing behavioral problems to be designated in one of three categories: a nuisance, dangerous or vicious.

A “nuisance” dog is one that has chased or attempted to bite a person while off its premises. A “ dangerous” dog has caused injury to a person, or killed another dog, without provocation. A “ vicious” dog has killed or seriously injured a person without provocation.

Owners of dogs placed in one of the three classifications would face penalties ranging from fines to felony charges.

The legislation also sets requirements for how dogs under each classification should be restrained, such as keeping the pet in a locked pen, and also bans felons from owning a dog deemed to be “dangerous” for three years after their release from prison.

Sears said the legislation had a 10-year ban, but it was reduced at Kasich’s request.

“Breed-specific legislation is not a viable solution to dog attacks, and such language does not solve the underlying issue of irresponsible ownership,” said Rep. Matt Szollosi, D-Oregon.

“Such laws are unfair to responsible owners.”


No comments:

Post a Comment