Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ohio pit bull roundup, 7/28/2012

So many pit bull stories and so little time.  We will post this batch and come back to this in a few days.

In a story that defies common sense, 50 pit bull owners in Xenia will get a $23 refund check in the mail.  The critical mauling of a Xenia woman in 2010 prompted the City of Xenia to pass a law requiring registration of pit bulls, payment of a $30 registration fee and provide proof of liability insurance of at least $100,000.  I quote from the whiotv article "in May the state of Ohio removed pit bulls from its list of vicious dogs, and that decision overturned community pit bull bans."

First, Xenia never had a pit bull ban, just registration and insurance requirements.  Second, HB 14 does not impact a community's right to regulate dangerous dogs.  Ohio is a home rule state and communities have every right to regulate dangerous dogs. 

Community leaders simply catered to a vocal and well funded special interest group, they should be ashamed of this action.

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Changes to law in Ashtabula Ohio are reported in the Hispanic Business News.  Ashtabula had a pit bull ban and did not have any desire to change that law after passage of HB 14.  After long months of meetings and "emotional testimony" the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League board vice president Irene Fiala announces a compromise with Ashtabula City Council that would allow adoption of pit bulls in that city.  Fiala states "It has been a challenge, but I have fought city hall and won." 

The proposed law still lists pit bulls as "vicious dogs" but allows pit bulls to be adopted from the APL "if it has been determined by the APL as being neither people-aggressive nor animal-aggressive, has an APL microchip implanted and an APL tag on its collar, has current rabies vaccinations and has been spayed or neutered and has a current dog tag or license issued by the Ashtabula County Auditor" per City Solicitor Michael Franklin.  Violations of these provisions could mean a third degree misdemeanor for the first offense and first degree charges on any subsequent offense.

It will be interesting to see how this works out.  The microchip will clearly identify dogs that the APL places in the community, any victims of these dogs may have legal recourse against the APL.

The name Irene Fiala  draws attention. Fiala, named as the negotiator, is far from unbiased on the issue of pit bulls.  Links below are to Fiala's Examiner articles.  It should be noted that the Examiner allows authors to post material, no fact checking is done, the author receives payment per page view.  Pit bull advocacy has LOTS of Examiner bloggers.

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This story, out of Lorain Ohio, is sad and may well become common now that there is no disincentive to breed pit bulls in Ohio.  A lactating pit bull was tied to a pole in front of Animal House, a pet placement center.  Surveillance video showed a sedan approaching the building and leaving 3 minutes later.  This dog was not found until staff arrived the next morning.  Staff was upset to see the dog whining for her pups and were concerned about the pups.

 Media attention to the drop off brought an anonymous tip on a classified ad showing a photo of the abandoned dog in a kitchen, with smaller photos of the puppies.  The price listed for the puppies was $250 each and an address was listed.  A local Humane officer talked to the woman at the residence listed in the ad, the woman's photo was also seen in the ad.  The woman made a statement that she was being "set up by someone who stole her photo from Facebook"  but neighbors have seen the puppies and the abandoned dog with the couple at that residence.  Per Dave Arnold of newsnet5 "The puppies are really cute," said one anonymous neighbor."  Humane officers searched the house and found no evidence of any dogs, or dog food. 

Deregulation of  pit bulls is expected to bring an explosion of pit bull breeding and sales of puppies.  These same puppies are likely to find a place in the breeding/shelter/euthanization cycle.  How very sad.

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Per the Middletown Journal, Middletown Police shot a pit bull after it attacked a Jack Russell Terrier.  The JRT's owner, Eric Sorrell said his dog is "fighting for his life."  Per published reports, neighbors came with objects to hit the pit bull, and police were called.  A Middletown police officer responded to the call, received permission from his supervisor to shoot and kill the pit bull "due to the animal's dangerous behavior and injuries, I placed one shot behind the dog's head" killing the pit bull.

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The official opinion of the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio remains that pit bulls are inherently vicious, and the Court shares many reasons why they should be regulated for the safety of the public.  Legislators may be influenced by well funded special interests, but the opinion of the Ohio Supreme Court is not changed by HB14.  The Maryland Supreme Court just made a similar ruling. That ruling has bit bull advocacy in an uproar.

Prosecutor Taylor and Highland Heights Police Chief James Cook suggest adding an appeals process to any new law proposed for Highland Heights for any dog accused of being vicious. Taylor and Cook appear to be unaware that there is an appeals process written into the new Ohio law, granted it is designed to protect dogs accused of vicious behavior and NOT designed to  promote public safety, but it is already state law.  Highland Heights "Council will revisit the issue and check on the progress of the new ordinance as it is being developed in September" per  One can hope that someone on the council actually reads the new Ohio law.