Whitehall, OH: Council looks at proposed ban on pit bulls, “vicious” dogs
Posted on July 9, 2009 by stopbslcom
Remember, per OH state law, all ”pit bulls” are automatically considered “vicious” dogs.
Also, the previous article on this topic was incorrect–the proposed BSL
had its first (not second) reading during this council meeting.
Next city council meeting: July 21, 6:30 PM.
Whitehall City Council Members
Brent Howard, President of Council
Christopher Rodruguez, At Large; President Pro-Tempore
Jim Graham, At Large
Jacquelyn K. Thompson, At Large
Robert Bailey, Ward I
Wesley P. Kantor, Ward II
Leo Knoblauch II, Ward III
Carol Churchman, Clerk of Council
Mayor John A. Wolfe
Julie Ogg, Secretary to the Mayor
Columbus Local News: > Archives > Region > News > Council looks at proposed ban on pit bulls, 'vicious' dogs
Council looks at proposed ban on pit bulls, ‘vicious’ dogs
But related measures put in place last year are working, Councilman Bob Bailey says.
By KEVIN CORVO
Published: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 5:36 PM EDT
An ordinance banning all pit bulls and other dogs deemed vicious in Whitehall received a first reading at the Tuesday, July 7 meeting of Whitehall City Council.
Another ordinance creating an animal control and code enforcement officer also received a first reading.
Councilwoman Jackie Thompson is the sponsor of the former; Mayor John Wolfe and Councilman Bob Bailey are the sponsors of the latter.
Thompson’s initial effort to ban pit bulls was defeated last year 5-2, after which council members voted 6-1 to adopt an ordinance Bailey crafted that placed stricter regulations on the harboring of vicious dogs.
Both new ordinances are scheduled for a second reading at the July 21 council meeting.
Although there was no formal discussion and both ordinances were read only by title, several residents and council members weighed in about canines during respective polling periods.
Patty Manning said residents should be permitted to have more than three dogs if they can demonstrate the ability to properly care for the additional dogs.
Residents are currently limited to three dogs, and city officials have began enforcing the regulation, requiring some residents, like Manning, to get rid of one or more dogs.
Penny Russell told council members her son, while delivering newspapers June 18, was bitten by a dog. Russell said, after great difficulty, the family learned the dog, a German shepherd and collie mix, was licensed and current on shots.
Russell said the experience demonstrated a need to limit the number of dogs a person can own, as some people cannot properly manage even one dog.
Manning concurred that some people cannot take care of any number of dogs, but those who can should not be automatically prevented from doing so.
During council polling, Thompson campaigned for her renewed effort to ban pit bulls.
“We have invited the pit bulls to our city,” Thompson. “We have invited them and now we are suffering the consequences.”
Current legislation is not working for pit bulls, and the miniscule number of pit bulls properly licensed and perhaps not a public threat do not match up against the safety of the city’s 17,000 residents, Thompson said.
“You can’t control these dogs,” she said.
Russell questioned a provision in Thompson’s ordinance that defines a “vicious” animal as, “Any animal, whether wild or domestic, which by virtue of its species, physical attributes, temperament and other characteristics presents a substantial risk of serious physical harm to persons.”
Russell called the provision “too broad a power for government.”
“You could use the size or anything to say a dog is vicious,” Russell said.
Thompson also questioned the selection process of members of the city’s vicious dog appeals board and criticized the inclusion of HELP FIDO, a nonprofit organization supporting canine care, in a Whitehall service directory.
HELP FIDO opposed Thompson’s pit bull ban last year, and, according to Thompson, continues to lobby against her effort, considered breed-specific legislation, on its Web site.
Bailey used his council polling to posit that the ordinance he proposed and council adopted last year is working.
“What we have is a mechanism that needs to get on the ground and running,” said Bailey, adding the addition of the animal control and code enforcement officer will “further enhance” the city’s ability to control vicious animal situations.
Bailey said the vicious dog appeals board should determine whether a dog is vicious.
“We can’t penalize (the owners) who are responsible,” Bailey said