Under a new law in Ohio, pitbulls will no longer be defined as vicious. The new law removes the reference to pit bulls from the definition and requires evidence to prove pitbulls are actually vicious.
The new law does not override the local community pit bull bans, like some in Northeast Ohio such as Lakewood, Parma, Garfield Heights and Warrensville Heights.
A few dog wardens were opposed to the new law because of frequent pit bull attacks. Others have said pit bulls are not inherently vicious. Over the last seven years, 80 percent of the 57 dogs that killed or seriously injured people in Ohio were pit bulls, according to media reports compiled by Animal People newspaper editor Merritt Clifton.
The pit bull law removes them from the definition of “vicious dogs”; defines “vicious,” “dangerous” and “nuisance” dogs without regard to breed; sets liability, confinement and licensing requirements for vicious and dangerous dogs; prohibits people convicted today or in the future of felonies involving violence, animals, drugs, conspiracy, weapons or corrupt activity from having an unneutered dog for three years after their release from prison or probation.
Marlo Slusarski, director of community outreach for For the Love of Pits said, “When pit bulls were labeled vicious, residents who love their dogs, were afraid to take their dogs out in public. Now that the law has changed, we are hoping to help these dog owners socialize their dogs to interact with other people and dogs and understand the benefits of neutering.”
Owners must get their dogs micro-chipped. Dogs that chase or try to bite someone without being provoked will be deemed nuisances, while dogs that injure someone or kill another dog without provocation or are caught running loose three times will be labeled as dangerous. A dog that kills or seriously injures someone will be deemed vicious, unless the person was attempting to trespass into a property or was committing another criminal offense on the owner’s property.
To celebrate the new law, a nonprofit group based in Northeast Ohio, For the Love of Pits, is offering free vaccinations for the pit bulls of low-income Cleveland residents. The group begins in Ward 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Roberto Clements Park, at West 38th Street and Seymore Avenue. The first 200 pit bulls to arrive will be vaccinated. Up to 50 owners can have a pit heartworm tested for just $3.
House Bill 14 takes effect Tuesday. Read the House Bill: Vicious Dog Law Ohio House Bill 14