LAKEWOOD, Ohio - The battle over how to regulate pit bulls in Lakewood brought out a huge crowd Tuesday night, as the city considers overturning a 10 year ban on the breed. The city council still must decide what, if any, regulations should be placed on pit bulls if they are allowed to stay.
Tuesday, Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers proposed a new, less restrictive compromise.
"If anyone has a stereotype of pits being these huge, muscular beasts or stereotype of their owners being bad people, throw it in the trash," said one Lakewood resident.
"I will not accept any breed being excluded whether it's Dobermanns, German Shepherds, Chihuahuas, Poodles, I don't care, it's not the right way to maintain public safety," said another.
"He went straight for my face and he latched onto a portion of my face, which happens to be delicate tissue, so it ripped away," said a woman who told council members she was the victim of a pit bull attack.
"I do believe a little bit of it is dog specific, but it is also owners," she added.
Jennifer Scott who fought last year to keep her pit bull mix Charlie in the city and sparked the huge debate says she's pleased at the progress.
"I think we're getting there, I think this is a great step in the right direction, there's still some tweaking on it that I feel needs to be done, I think it's still targeting pit and pit bull types, which to me is still breed specific legislation," Scott said.
"Ultimately what we, I think all agree on this particular subject is that good responsible owners can handle these dogs well, the challenge I fear is not every owner can be responsible," said Mayor Summers.
Summers offered a compromise for city council to consider in dealing with pit bulls in the community.
He says he remains convinced that certain dog breeds pose a greater safety risk and pit bulls should have specific regulations.
His proposal includes
- Mandatory spaying or neutering of pit bulls and pit bull mixes.
- Mandatory 100-thousand dollars liability insurance.
- Mandatory control of the dog in public by a harness and required training on dog ownership and education of pit bull breeds.
The mayor’s proposal is even different from one he proposed two weeks ago. This one would not require pit bulls to wear muzzles in public or restrict how they are kept at private homes. Mayor Summers says what he is proposing is based primarily on state law.
Ultimately, it will be up to city council to approve any final ordinance. The city council president says he hope that can happen by February. Rather than having the safety committee review the proposal first, council members voted to have all council members be a part of the discussion.