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OH: Newark's current pit bull law should stand

Discussion in 'Breed Specific Legislation' started by Shon, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. Shon

    Shon Little Dog

    Newark, OH -- It has been said that every dog has its day, but a proposal before Newark City Council to relax rules on pit bulls should not see the light much longer.

    Newark law currently places a blanket "vicious dog" designation on all dogs classified as pit bulls. That law requires pit bull owners to secure special insurance for their dogs, special and more-expensive dog tags, and to muzzle and restrain their dogs while walking or exercising them in public.

    Pit bull owners who think the law unfairly paints such dogs with the same, slanted brush unsuccessfully fought for an easing of standards in 2012. They note Ohio law recently became less stringent, requiring dogs to commit a violent act before being labeled as vicious. As a charter city, Newark law takes precedent.

    Now, a measure before city council would create a tiered system aimed at appeasing pit bull owners who insist their dogs should not be penalized for the violent behavior of other animals that happen to be of the same breed.

    Although statistics support the notion pit bulls potentially pose a safety risk higher than dogs of other breeds, we certainly realize there is a nature vs. nurture component at work here. Much of a dog's behavior is attributable to its owner - to training and treatment of the animal.

    Simply put, there is a responsibility of all dog owners and residents to exercise proper etiquette when dealing with dogs. Even the gentlest breed can react violently when approached by an aggressive stranger or excited child.

    But genetics also play a role in dogs' behavior, and for eons, they have been bred to exhibit certain traits or to perform certain tasks.

    Although we understand the frustration of pit bull owners who think their dogs are exceptions to negative public perceptions regarding the breed, we also are highly resistant to picking apart current law.

    The new measure would create distinct protocols for testing pit bulls annually to see whether they meet a multipoint test measuring control and behavior.

    Pit bulls passing that test would enjoy a measure of relaxation in terms of restraint when in public.

    It is not yet clear what kind of costs would result in order for individual owners to achieve the status for their dogs or what burden taxpayers might experience to fund testing functions. To us, the city has far better things to worry about than monitoring dog testing.

    Also, there continues to be debate about how approved or specially sanctioned pit bulls would be identifiable on the street. The Newark police chief is understandably resistant to the idea of color-coded collars to identify dogs who have passed the test. What would stop any pit bull owner from buying the right colored collar? How often would police be forced to check a dog's status?

    Experience shows it's usually a mistake to let exceptions eat away at any rule.

    We urge the council to leave the current standards in place rather than dilute and complicate enforcement by creating potentially dangerous or hard to enforce pockets of exception.

    Shared from: http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20131207/OPINION01/312070030/
  2. Shon

    Shon Little Dog

    Pit bull bill heads to council

    Citizenship training, test would lift vicious designation

    Local dog owners who want their pit bulls recognized as good citizens rather than vicious animals are one step closer to fulfilling that wish.

    The City Council's Safety Committee on Monday unanimously forwarded to the full council a proposal to remove pit bulls from automatic vicious dog status if they undergo formalized training and annually pass a good citizenship test.

    "Strictly, from an enforcement standpoint, it's going to be a nightmare," Police Chief Steven Sarver told committee members.

    "I'm happy," said Matt Frischen, of 949 W. Church St. "I'm just trying to find a middle ground where I can walk down the road with my dog and my kids."

    Frischen told safety panel members that his 2- and 4-year-old children climb all over his pit bull, Charlie, which shows the dog is not vicious, but rather "a member of my family."

    Currently, city law designates pit bulls as vicious whether or not they have ever harmed anyone. It also requires their owners to buy special insurance and expensive dog tags for their pets as well as muzzle and restrain them while walking in public.

    All other dogs earn the elevated status and attendant requirements by committing a vicious act.

    Safety Committee first heard the request Nov. 29, but tabled it until Monday to give Law Director Doug Sassen time to draft recommended changes and allow Sarver time to look into whether other Ohio cities grant the exemption. The chief could find no other Ohio city that allows the exception, according to Safety Committee Chairman Marc Guthrie, D-At-Large.

    Sassen's changes clarified that the measure would not grant exemptions to dogs that have seriously harmed someone to earn their vicious designation, even if they later pass the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen test. He also recommended requiring pit bulls to complete AKC-sponsored training and pass the test annually.

    Pat Smith, a trainer/evaluator for the Licking River Kennel Club, said her group is affiliated with the AKC and hosts eight-week training sessions for dogs and their owners, but the AKC does not evaluate training programs or approve course standards.

    That caused Guthrie to suggest amending Sassen's bill with the words "formalized training," rather than an AKC-sponsored training program. The panel agreed in a 5-0 vote.

    Sarver had sought the annual testing requirement to ensure the dogs remain good-natured and controllable.

    The 10-point AKC test requires a dog to tolerate strangers and other dogs, walk on a leash under control, sit on command, stay in place, come when called and accept a three-minute separation from its owner.

    Sassen recommended requiring formal training to ensure dogs and their owners meet recognized standards.

    Sassen said that if the council passes the measure, pit bull owners would be required to present proof that their dog had passed the test and completed the training when they apply annually for a dog license.

    Sarver said he understands why dog owners would like to walk their dogs unmuzzled in public.

    "We don't oppose what you're trying to do," he said. "We just don't support it."

    Sarver said if the bill passes, police or the animal control officer would have to stop and check for credentials every time they see an owner walking a pit bull without a muzzle.

    "We don't want to be harassing dog owners," he said, "but we want to ensure the public's safety."

    David Ambrosini, of 202 Moull St., lives across an alley from a pit bull, and he says he's "scared to death of the thing."

    "If you ask me, they're nothing more than a crocodile on land," Ambrosini told The Advocate in a telephone interview.

    Ambrosini said he has reported the dog to authorities, which has strained relations with his neighbors. He and his wife, Donna, have lived in their North Newark home for 17 years.

    "I'm not going to let these people push me out of my house," he said.

    Ambrosini said he believes pit bulls have been bred to fight, cannot change their nature and have hurt too many people. For those reasons, he wants them to keep their vicious dog status in Newark, with special restrictions intact, but he also contends they should be spayed or neutered.

    "There are so many loveable dogs out there, you know, and this is not one of them," he said.

    Animal Control Officer Toby Wills reported to the council that he had answered 403 complaints on pit bulls in the past 11 months, finding 100 dogs in compliance with city law and 293 in violation.

    Wills, too, opposes relaxing the city law on enforcement grounds.

    Shared from: http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20131209/NEWS01/312090035/?nclick_check=1
  3. milew66623

    milew66623 Big Dog

    I live in this city and they are the most ignorant people on earth.
  4. milew66623

    milew66623 Big Dog

    "Although statistics support the notion pit bulls potentially pose a safety risk higher than dogs of other breeds" where are those stats?

  5. ShanaRowan

    ShanaRowan FlirtPolin' Premium Member

    On websites like dogsbite.org, which are run by people who have the upper hand in the spelling, grammar and vocabulary department on frothing, self-proclaimed "pit bull advocates" who think their 95 lb "blue nose pibble" from the shelter would never harm another dog since it's all in how they're raised. Unfortunately, DBO people also are experts at presenting certain information out of context, leaving information out, and have frightful amounts of time on their hands to devote to ensuring this "information" is considered the go-to source for journalists.

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