Ohio City Council Revising Dog Ordinance to Include Breed-Neutral Wording
A town in Ohio has proposed amendments that would remove breed-restrictive wording for its community, saying they are responding to citizens who feel breed-neutral legislation is fairer to the town’s pets.
In Mansfield, Ohio, City Councilman at Large Don Bryant said that the council is responding to the voice of the people, as he proposed amendments to Mansfield’s dog ordinance that prohibits breeds they consider ‘vicious.’ The bill bans American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers or any mixed breed dog that has any of those breeds as part of its makeup.
Bryant says that the bulk of the city wants breed-neutral legislation, and do not want those breeds to be specified as vicious in blanket terms. As such, the subsection that defined pits or pit bull-types as vicious has been removed from the legislation.
Law Director John Spon does not believe that this is necessarily the best step for the city, and believes that it’s not the majority of citizens but the majority of council members who want the change, but respecting the Democratic process, he removed the wording from existing legislation.
Some residents feel that the rewording of the bill did not go hand-in-hand with stiffer penalties for people who are not responsible with their pets, and possibly allow their pets to attack other people or their pets. Some, however, feel that the legislation is more in line with an encompassing concept, as many other districts in the state look more at softening harsh restrictions on breeds while also legislating stronger protection for animals.
Some Council Members do believe that stiffer penalties should be imposed on owners of dogs who attack, maim and/or kill others, suggesting fines of $300-$500. Mike Hill thinks the fines should be such that they would deter pet owners from not being responsible, regardless of what breed their dog is. Councilwoman Garnetta Pender also believes dog owners should be strictly held responsible.
Currently, according to Spon, the penalty for something like death to another because of a dog is only a fourth-degree misdemeanor, and isn’t even one in which a judge could order restitution or jail time. Moving violations to first-degree misdemeanors will make a difference, he believes.
The Council will put the revised legislation and penalty revisions to vote on November 21.