The Newark, Ohio city council’s Safety Committee will discuss the possibility of repealing the city’s breed specific ordinance tomorrow, July 30, 2012. Residents are encouraged to attend tomorrow’s meeting to show strong support for the repeal. The committee meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. at City Council Chambers located at 40 West Main Street, on the first floor.
Please also take a moment to leave your positive comments to the article on the website below to show your support for repealing the ordinance.
Behavior first: Newark might take pit bulls off vicious list
6:27 AM, Jul. 28, 2012
NEWARK — The city council’s Safety Committee will discuss on Monday whether to remove pit bulls from the city’s vicious dog list.
A recent change in the state law bases the vicious dog label on the animal’s behavior, not the breed, removing pit bulls from automatic inclusion as a vicious dog.
Charter cities such as Newark can have ordinances stricter than the state law, but not more lenient, Law Director Doug Sassen said.
Service Director David Rhodes said in June the city planned to keep in place its existing ordinances, which labels pit bulls as vicious, in addition to the state law allowing other breeds to gain the designation through their behavior.
At least two residents requested the city change its ordinance to match the state law, which took effect May 22.
Safety Committee Chairman Marc Guthrie said he’s not sure whether he agrees with the residents, but council should provide them a forum for debate.
“I think we need to listen to the residents first,” Guthrie said. “We need to hear them out before we make a judgment.”
Savannah Boley requested in a letter to City Council that the city revise its ordinance. Beau Bromberg, a former council candidate, made the same request at a recent council meeting.
“I know a few people with pit bulls and they asked how can we get them removed from Newark’s (law), and I told them we’ll start a conversation about it,” Bromberg said.
“The pit bulls I know are really friendly dogs. Any dog could be labeled a vicious dog, and if a pit bull is a dog that bites, it should be listed as vicious.”
Mayor Jeff Hall said he’s inclined to keep the city regulation, in addition to the state law, as Rhodes and Safety Director Bill Spurgeon suggested.
“I tend to agree with them, to keep legislation in place, as is,” Hall said. “We have to look at what’s best at the local level, and the local perspective.”
Guthrie said he would like to hear opinions from the police chief, law director and judges.
“It probably makes some sense to see how the Ohio law works (before making a change),” Guthrie said.
“There’s logic behind the fact there’s dogs that are vicious that aren’t pit bulls.”
The classification means vicious dog owners must: Post “dangerous dog” signs outside the home; buy a $50 dangerous dog tag in addition to the regular $15 dog tag; permanently identify the dog with a microchip; have it spayed or neutered; keep it in a locked, fenced-in yard or confined in a locked enclosure; and while off property, dogs be on a leash no longer than 6 feet.