Lakewood City Council to discuss ending pit bull ban, but they could add other restrictions

LAKEWOOD, Ohio - The ongoing battle of Lakewood's pit bull ban is taking a turn. 

It could be eliminated — but not all dog owners are celebrating.

That's because Lakewood City Council will discuss Tuesday evening an ordinance that wouldn't just end the ban. It would replace it with restrictions that some dog owners say go too far. 

Some dog owners say the new restrictions are a ban in disguise but the mayor disagrees, saying it's all about public safety.

Jennifer Scott's pit bull Charlie is a breed-specific dog banned by the city of Lakewood's dog ordinance. For now, Charlie can stay in Lakewood, because Scott filed an appeal with the county and is waiting for a ruling.

According to the agenda for Monday night’s city council meeting, council will discuss ending the pit bull ban.

However, they're proposing a new law that will add restrictions and includes restrictions on pit bulls, pit bull mixes, American Staffordshire terriers, Stafforshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, American bulldogs, canary mastiff dogs and Cane Corso dogs.

When dogs of these breeds are on their owners’ property, they must be confined in one of the following ways:

  • Inside an enclosure with a secured top, including a house
  • In a locked fenced yard in the rear of the property also tethered to the ground on a tether no longer than 10 feet or on a tether controlled by someone 18 and older
  • In a locked pen, with a secure top, and supervised by someone 18 and older

When dogs of these breeds are not on their owners’ property, they must be:

  • Muzzled and on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length and have a person controlling them who is 18 and older
  • Inside an enclosure with a secured top, including a house
  • In a locked fenced yard in the rear of the property also tethered to the ground on a tether no longer than 10 feet or on a tether controlled by someone 18 and older
  • In a locked pen, with a secure top, and supervised by someone 18 and older

They are restrictions Scott says are so extensive and costly, they basically amount to a ban. 

“You know I look at my dog and you’ve seen him for five minutes. He’s just running and playing. How would he ever be able to do that outside with those restrictions?” Scott asked.

Dog breeds would also be visibly identified by the animal control officer.

Scott said that's not fair because it would be difficult to identify mixed breeds.

Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers said in a news release Tuesday that the restriction was put in place with safety in mind. 

“When this ban was passed back in 2008, it was done with the idea of safety in mind,” he said. “Since then, that’s what we’ve had in mind when enforcing this. However, the time has come for us to reevaluate.”

Summers said the new ordinance is based on existing legislation in Lima and Avon Lake and nearby cities, such as Rocky River have similar components, such as muzzling requirements.

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