If Brian Banister, acting Fulton County dog warden, is right, the new Ohio pit bull law is wrong.
Banister said a pit bull on the loose is now “the same as a cocker spaniel” with the new definition under Ohio state law.
Fulton County has been forced to alter its definition of vicious dogs to come into compliance with the new state definition.
The previous definition of a vicious dog was one that caused death or serious injury to a human or kills another dog more than once, and any dog that was a pit bull or pit bull mix.
John Kasich, Ohio governor, signed House Bill 14 on Feb. 22, which removed the “from birth” definition of all pit bulls as vicious dogs.
The bill went into effect May 22.
Banister claims that the new law prevents dog wardens from upholding their “sworn duty to protect people from dogs on the loose.”
“The old law didn’t say you could not have (pit bulls),” Banister said. “It just said if you want this type of animal there are certain things you have to do, with insurance, confining the animal, etc.”
Without those regulations, Banister fears for how well dog wardens will be able to protect their communities from dog attacks.
“What they have basically done is to take away the only tool that the dog warden had in controlling these types of dogs,” said Banister.
However Jean Keating, co-founder of the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates, said that it is impossible to tell a vicious dog simply by their breed.
“Vicious and dangerous dogs are solely the result of how they’re raised by people and the environments that people put those dogs in,” she said.
Banister said that because of the strength in their jaws and necks, pit bulls are far more dangerous if they attack.
“The problem with pit bulls is that they can be the most wonderful dogs you’ll have, a great family pet.
“But when they do attack, the results of the bite is just ungodly more dramatic, more severe, than a normal dog.” –Frank Bumb