At the Reynoldsburg, Ohio city council meeting on May 27, 2014, the chairman of an ad hoc committee that was appointed to study animal control laws revealed its recommendations
. One of the committee’s recommendations is the elimination of the city’s ban on pit bulls.
Committee Chairman Stephen Smith advised that one of the more contentious issues before the committee was the definition of a vicious or dangerous animal, but the committee ultimately decided the focus should be on the behavior of individual animals and/or owners, and not on dog breeds. According to Smith, the majority of the committee decided this was the “better way to go because it mirrors state law and would be easier to enforce.”
Ohio state law no longer singles out any particular breed of dog as dangerous or vicious, and while many cities have fallen in line with state law and repealed their breed specific ordinances, Reynoldsburg’s ordinance still automatically labels pit bulls as vicious and bans them from the city.
Other recommendations from the ad hoc group include:
• Requiring all dogs to be leashed whenever they are off their owner’s property
• Allowing underground fences only in rear yards
• Not allowing animals closer than 15 feet from a property line.
• Not allowing dogs to be tethered in front yards
• Not allowing dogs to be tethered in backyards for more than six hours in a 24-hour period. Only two of those hours could be unsupervised, with a one-hour period between tethering.
• Not allowing dogs to be tethered between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., other than short periods for the animal to relieve itself.
The Reynoldsburg city council will discuss the committee’s recommendations on July 7, at the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building, 7232 E. Main St.
If you live in Reynoldsburg, please reach out to your city officials and let them know you support the committee’s recommendations to remove the breed specific language in favor of targeting and labeling dogs as dangerous based on their behavior and actions. In addition, please try to attend the council meeting on the 16th to show your support for the changes.
These talks have been ongoing for several months, and even stalled out at one point. The discussions regarding changes to this ordinance have been extremely challenging, and with respect to repealing the ban on pit bulls specifically, have generated particularly heated debates. Because of these difficulties, its extremely important that the voices involved are those of residents only.