In Parma, Ohio, a grassroots group is lobbying the city council to repeal its ban on pit bulls, enacted in 1987, in favor of breed-neutral dog regulations that place responsibility on reckless owners.
The state of Ohio removed pit bulls from its definition of “vicious dog” last year, and while municipalities could continue to enforce their breed specific ordinances, many Ohio cities have repealed their pit bull ordinances and replaced them with generic dangerous dog laws.
Under 618.09 of the city’s code, the owning, harboring, or keeping of a pit bull within the Parma city limits is prohibited. The code defines a “Pit Bull Dog” as the American Pit Bull Terrier, as recognized by the United Kennel Club, and the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the Bull Terrier, as recognized by the American Kennel Club, and any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding any of the breeds described.
Representatives of Animal Guardians for a Prosperous Parma, which formed in August, have addressed the city council at the last two meetings. The group is pushing for a repeal of the pit bull ban in exchange for an ordinance with an increased emphasis on owner accountability.
Animal Guardians distributed materials to the council supporting their argument that there is little evidence that breed-specific legislation is an effective way of reducing dog bites and dog attacks, and that targeting the actions (and non-actions) of owners will be more effective and sensible in realistically decreasing dog attacks.
Animal Guardians Vice President Denise Geschwender contends that it’s discriminatory not to allow Parma residents to own the type of dog of their choice, and that the pit bull ban serves as a deterrent to people considering moving to the city, and hurts the business of animal-care professionals because the dogs can’t be transported into the city.
To date, the city council has not been very receptive to the suggestion of repealing the discriminatory ordinance, but advocates have vowed to continue their efforts for positive change in Parma, but they need your help.
The next city council meeting is Monday, December 2, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., and advocates are asking for as much public support as possible. If you reside in or around Parma, please attend the meeting and speak on behalf of repealing the breed ban in Parma. Your support will encourage and strengthen the movement and let the city council know this is an issue that is important and needs to be revisted.
To find out how you can help with the effort to repeal the pit bull ban in Parma and the see the presentation made to the council, please visit the Animal Guardians for a Prosperous Parma website. I know they would appreciate your support and encouragement!