Animal Advocate Wants City’s Pit Bull Ban Re-Written
An animal advocate from Boardman encouraged City Council Tuesday night to modify the city’s existing dangerous dog laws.
Jason Cooke, who advocates all over the state of Ohio, said he “shuddered” when he read the city’s law specifically pertaining to pit bull dogs.
Under the city’s law, anyone owning a pit bull breed dog is considered to be harboring a vicious dog.
“You’re essentially telling the community, in my opinion, you’re targeting this type of dog when in fact you should target all types of dogs,” he said.
Cooke said he is going around to municipalities to encourage them to rewrite their laws, adopting a new “breed neutral” model he had drafted that promotes safety in communities without targeting pit bull breeds.
“Two years ago Youngstown had an outright ban on pit bull terriers … we came up with a very viable option – let’s get a safer community,” he said.
He added that the model includes a focus on re-disciplinary language and eliminates tethering of dogs.
“A chained up dog is an unsocialized dog and that is how people get hurt,” he said.
He said he has already contacted, and gotten support from, the Columbiana County Dog Warden’s office.
“The last thing I would want to have happen is someone gets injured by another type of dog and that constituent comes to city council,” he said, adding that, “It really comes down to irresponsible ownership, tethering of dogs, treatment of dogs.”
Mayor Bryan Blakeman and police Chief Tim Gladis both said the city hasn’t had any problems with pit bulls to date.
“I’m not even aware of where there is one at this point,” Gladis said.
Blakeman did say, however, that he has handed down fines through mayor’s court for dogs at large.
“We do take it seriously, and it’s not for one particular breed,” he said.
He and City Manager Lance Willard and Municipal Attorney Daniel Blasdell were not opposed to considering Cooke’s suggested recommendations for any changes to the language of the dog law.
Any changes would have to be put before council for a vote.
“I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t truly believe this was something that would make your community better,” Cooke said.
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