LAKEWOOD, Ohio- Jennifer Scott says she and her family bonded with a dog named Charlie from the moment they met him at the Animal Protective League in February.
Scott says the city of Lakewood initially gave the family permission to keep the dog after viewing a photo of Charlie, but later reversed that decision when an animal control officer raised questions about whether the family was in violation of Lakewood’s ban on pit bulls.
Scott told Fox 8, “I think the way they handled the ordinance is ludicrous. I think that you don’t say ‘yes’ and then turn around four months later and say ‘oh sorry, we made a mistake; that’s a pit bull.’ That’s crazy to me.”
Amid recent protests in support of Charlie, the city ruled on Wednesday that based on evidence that included documents from the APL, Charlie is, in fact, a pit bull and the Scott family has 30 days to remove him from city limits.
Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers says it’s a public safety issue. “We’ve had our own experiences with certain dogs of this type in particular, who have basically attacked humans and other dogs with sometimes devastating results,” said Summers.
Jennifer Scott says she plans to appeal the ruling and will sue the city if necessary. “I think he’s the most expensive pound puppy I’ve ever owned. He’s family, you know you do for your dogs what you do for your children, and you don’t stop fighting and you don’t stop advocating and you don’t stop doing what’s right,” said Scott.
And if the city does not change its stand on pit bulls, and she does not prevail in the courts, she is prepared to move out of the city and move to a place that will accept Charlie. “So many people that don’t live in Lakewood offer to take him, to foster him, to adopt him; that’s not going to happen,” said Scott.
Scott and her attorney believe that Lakewood’s breed specific legislation is unfair and possibly unconstitutional. “His DNA means no more to me than the color of someone’s skin or their sexual orientation; I don’t care. If it doesn’t matter to me, you know Lakewood has bigger issues right now than what kind of a dog is in my house, a perfectly well-behaved, nice dog that didn’t do anything wrong. Come on, it’s ridiculous,” said Scott.