State Law Passes, Lakewood to ‘Review’ Pit Bull Policy
Gov. John Kasich signed a law this week aimed at redefining vicious and dangerous dogs in the state. Lakewood’s going to take a second look at its 2008 ban.
Pit bulls are no longer “dangerous” animals in Ohio.
Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 14 into law this week, aimed at redefining vicious and dangerous dogs in the state.
Pit bulls are no longer automatically tossed into either category.
It’s not yet clear what that means for Lakewood, with its own ban on pit bulls.
The Lakewood ban, passed in 2008, required residents at that time who owned pit pulls and canary dogs to register the animals, carry special insurance and implant a microchip in the dogs. The measure also ruled that no new pit bulls could live in the city.
Under the new state law, a dog will be labeled vicious only if it kills or causes serious harm to a person while unprovoked.
Law director Kevin Butler said the city may not need to change its ordinance, but added that the city may need to “review” its enforcement of the policy.
“My initial thought is that the city will not have to amend its law,” he said. “We are going to look closely at it and make that final determination.”
Butler said a current ordinance making its way through committee meetings could be “used as a vehicle” to change the ordinance if necessary.
The current ordinance would allow Lakewood animal hospitals and shelters to house pit bulls for 60 days.
According to the Toledo Blade, the new state law redefines the “vicious” and “dangerous” tag — and drops specific breeds — but adds a “nuisance” category for dog owners to appeal law enforcement’s labeling of the dog.
“Those applied to animals being classified under the state code,” Butler said. “Because of home rule, those definitions don’t necessarily apply to animals being classified under local codes. But it’s what we do with our local codes and how we carry out our municipal regulations that may implicate a conflict between the local code and the new state code.”
“But I don’t have any indication from council that it’s going to revisit our ordinance at this point.”
Councilman Brian Powers told Lakewood Patch earlier this month that council would not likely reverse the ban based on the state legislation.
“The state does what the state does,” he said. “There’s no reason to change what we have.”