REPEAL ALERT: Newark, Ohio

At last night’s council meeting, residents in Newark, Ohio requested the city repeal its breed specific ordinance and replace it with a breed-neutral ordinance in line with the new state law. No decision was made during the meeting, but some council members did agree with the residents that the law should be changed.

Please contact the Newark city officials and encourage them to move forward to amend their current ordinance and remove the breed specific language. Responsible dog owners in Newark are counting on us to help repeal this law, so please remember the importance of keeping your communications with city officials polite, professional and respectful.

Again, please leave positive comments on the website of the news article below to encourage city officials to repeal their breed specific ordinance.

Thanks to Doc for gathering the contact information for Newark!

Clerk of Council
Diana L. Hufford
217 Cynthia Street, Heath
670-7516 (W)
DHufford@newarkohio.net

City Council
DEllingt@newarkohio.net,BCostjr@newarkohio.net,MDGuthrie@newarkohio.net,RBubb@newarkohio.net,
EHoudesh@newarkohio.net,SStare@newarkohio.net,JRath@newarkohio.net,rhonda.loomis@newarkohio.net,
DFrost@newarkohio.net,Dmarmie@newarkohio.net,CFloyd@newarkohio.net

Pit bull owners want city law changed

Council considers removing ‘vicious’ label

11:01 PM, Jul. 30, 2012

NEWARK — Depending on whom you believe, pit bulls are no meaner than any other breed of dog or are the most likely breed to kill or seriously injury a person.

Pit bull owners asked City Council tonight to remove the vicious dog label from their pets, following the state’s recent decision.

A few council members said they agreed with the residents, while some city officials cited statistics showing the reason for the law’s existence. No decision has been made.

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.

Resident Anna Rehl, said she’s seen cocker spaniels and Rottweilers more vicious than pit bulls.

“I show dogs, and I don’t blame the dogs,” Rehl said. “A few dogs, like some people, are born mean. Some dogs are that way.

“It’s the people who make them mean. They’re the ones that need to be put away. I think it’s wrong to take one breed and say they’re a vicious dog.”

Kay O’Dell said a pit bull was dumped at a relative’s house this past Thanksgiving. The dog was hungry and, after they fed her, was not aggressive or mean.

“I found him a home outside the city limits because she doesn’t have to comply with the silly city laws.”

The owner of a vicious dog 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.

Duke Frost, R-5th Ward, a Licking County assistant prosecutor, presented statistics he found on the Internet at dogsbite.org, showing pit bulls represent 5 percent of the population but accounted for 71 percent of fatalities in 2011 in the U.S.

Pit bulls accounted for 67 percent of fatal dog attacks in 2010, 44 percent in 2009, 65 percent in 2008 and 60 percent in 2007, according to the web site. For the five years from 2007 to 2011, pit bulls accounted for 94 of 165 deaths, or 57 percent, according to dogsbite.org.

“There’s a pattern there,” Frost said, “Disproportionate responsibility for deaths of people. If they’re 10 percent more likely to cause a death than other breeds, there’s a problem.”

Windy Murphy, a Newark resident, said well-behaved pit bulls are routinely killed at the shelter, unless the owner shows up to claim them and pay the fines.

“One of my biggest concerns is the fact that when these dogs are taken to the local shelter, they’re not adoptable, regardless off their behavior,” Murphy said. “These dogs are euthanized.”

Toby Wills, the city’s animal control officer, said 33 percent of calls for service in 2012 were related to pit bulls, along with 25 percent of the charges filed and 24 percent of impounds. Pit bulls were responsible for 8 percent of the bites.

“We get blamed with the dogs get euthanized, when they choose not to get their dog back,” Wills said.

The owner must pay $8 per day for the boarding, plus any other fees outstanding, Wills said.

Jon Luzio, former county dog warden for 30 years, said animal control officers can’t look at two pit bulls and determine which one was abused or poorly trained.

“With the change in the (state) law, the dog has to attack,” Luzio said. “Usually, the bad attack is the first attack. The question is what to do before that attack.

“We don’t know the background of these animals and how they were trained. Right now, the liability is too great.”

Beau Bromberg, a former council candidate, said pit bulls have accounted for only seven of 155 bites reported in Licking County this year, and only four of 51 reported in the city.

“We don’t judge a man based on their appearance,” Bromberg said. “If a dog acts as a pussycat, we should declare it that way, based on the dog itself and not its breed.”

kmallett@newarkadvocate.com
740-328-8545
Twitter: @kmallett1958

http://www.newarkadvocate.com/article/20120730/NEWS01/120730010/Pit-bull-owners-want-city-law-changed

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