It’s been three years since Ohio removed Pit Bulls from their list of vicious dogs. Now, instead of defining a “vicious dog” by its breed, the Ohio legal system defines it by behavior alone. And yet, despite this change, there are still some Ohio towns that prohibit the ownership of Pit Bulls within their city limits.
Youngstown, Ohio was one such town until last Wednesday. Their anti-Pit Bull ordinance made it illegal to “own, keep, harbor, or possess” a “Pit Bull Terrier” unless the Pit Bull was registered prior to the passing of the ordinance. However, even the owners of those dogs were required to “properly confine” them, walk them on four-foot-long leashes (or shorter) with muzzles, put up a “beware of dog” sign in their front yard, and buy $100,000 liability insurance.
But now, after the Youngstown city council voted unanimously to end the ordinance, citizens of Youngstown can “own, keep, harbor, or possess” Pit Bulls to their heart’s content – without restriction. The move came at the urging of the Youngstown police department and animal rights activists like Jason Cooke, who celebrated outside the courthouse.
City council member John Swierz said to WFMJ:
Dog specific ordinances don’t work. Today, it could be a pit bull, forty years ago it was a Doberman Pinscher.
Indeed, breed-based ordinances have proven, time and again, to not only be ineffective, but also a waste of taxpayer money and resources. The number of dog attacks in areas (towns, states, countries) with BSL almost never go down. Instead, they just go up in other breeds.
This is only the latest in a string of victories for Pit Bull activists. Each year, more and more Pit Bull bans are lifted, while more and more states vote to prohibit BSL altogether. It gives one hope for a future free of this sort of animal discrimination, though we’ve certainly got a long ways to go before that can be a reality.
Featured image via Wolfie-Undead