Counties Enforce New Pit Bull Restrictions
Hocking County, OH - The Ohio State Supreme Court recently reactivated legislation that deems pit bulls inherently more aggressive than other dog breeds. Franklin and Hocking counties are now enforcing new policies. Expect many other Ohio counties to follow.
In Hocking County, pit bulls must be confined in a fully enclosed pen (with padlock and roof) when on their owner's property; they must be muzzled when taken off property. The regulations stem from sections 951.11 and 955.22 of the Ohio Revised Code -- an item of legislation the 6th District Court of Appeals deemed unconstitutional for a number of years before it was recertified by the Ohio Supreme Court in August 2007.
The reactivated legislation defines pit bulls as "vicious dogs" that have been known to "cause serious injury to any person," or "kill other dogs" without provocation. The recent state Supreme Court ruling turned back the clock to the original intent of the legislation, based on the belief that some dogs, such as pit bulls, are inherently more aggressive than others.
Franklin and Hocking counties are now enforcing restrictive policy on the following breeds commonly known as pit bulls: American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog and any other pure bred or mixed breed dog that is a combination of these dogs.
Hocking County Dog Warden Don Kiger says that a lot of people think the way they're raised will keep them from being aggressive, but it doesn't. Pit bulls are dog-aggressive dogs. He adds that pit bull mixes possess the same aggressive tendencies as pure-breds. Labeling the dog "a lab mix," doesn't change its propensity toward aggression, nor does it exclude it from the pit bull policy.
"People hide them now by disguising the name of their breed," he said. "They call them 'boxer mixes,' 'terrier mixes' and 'lab mixes,' but once you see the frame, posture, build and distinct head and jaw sizes of a pit bull - it's obvious."
The Hocking County dog shelter has taken in about 30 pit bulls this year, but because of the breed's reputation for aggression, they are euthanized instead of adopted out. This is a policy shared by 80 other counties in Ohio. Kiger says that they do it for liability reasons, not because they want to. "We have to protect ourselves and protect the county."