Ohio Valley Dog Owners, Inc.

Protecting dogs, dog owners and our neighbors
through education and community service

Breed specific legislation

Deeds, not breeds

OVDO opposes breed specific legislation ( OVDO handout on breed-specific legislation ) as unfair to dogs and dog owners and ineffective as public policy. We support laws that place the burden of animal control on individuals and do not condemn dogs to death or exile because of their appearance.

Breed-specific legislation bans or restricts particular breeds or mixes. A dog of a banned breed can be confiscated by the authorities and killed. A dog of a restricted breed must be confined, muzzled, chained, or restricted in other ways and owners must provide proof of liability insurance that covers dog bites. In some jurisdictions, dogs of restricted breeds and mixes must be identified by microchip or tattoo and have mug shots on file with police.

Ohio has breed-specific legislation at the state level and breed bans or restrictions in many cities. The state law [955.11 (A)(4)(a) (iii)] includes "a breed commonly known as a pit bull dog" in the definition of "vicious dog." Therefore, all of the restrictions placed on dogs that have killed or caused serious injury to a person or killed another dog are automatically placed on pit bulls.

Ohio's animal control laws are enforced by county dog wardens. Some county dog wardens include purebred American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and even Bull Terriers in the category of pit bull dogs. Thus well-behaved show dogs and pets as well as therapy dogs, service dogs, and working dogs of these breeds are subject to the restrictions.

Recent victories against breed-specific legislation

Cleveland City Council voted down a breed-specific ordinance in favor of an education program with the help of Canine Friends of Cleveland, a group similar to OVDO. Faced with irresponsible ownership of several large breeds, the city council proposed bans on Akitas, Rottweilers, Chows, and wolfdogs as well as the usual pit bull types. However, after careful consideration, the council formed a task force that included dog fanciers and decided instead to enforce generic dangerous dog laws.

Cincinnati overturned its 13-year-old ban on AmStaffs, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and their mixes when the cost of enforcement skyrocketed. The city did not enforce the ban until 1996, nine years after it was put in place, then found itself with dozens of dogs in custody and court cases to decide. A city task force that included OVDO, the Cincinnati Kennel Club, the dog warden, and a veterinarian wrote a generic animal control law that was finally approved by City Council in November 1999. Unfortunately, because Ohio still considers pit bulls to be vicious dogs, all pit bulls in Cincinnati must be registered with police, identified with tattoos and microchips, photographed, and confined, and owners must purchase $50,000 liability insurance.

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Membership information

OVDO home page     Contact Ohio Valley Dog Owners at ovdog01@canismajor.com

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