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SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio– The community of Shaker Heights is considering banning pit bulls and other dog breeds labeled vicious.

The proposal comes after a 71-year-old grandmother was mauled to death by a pit bull. Annie Williams of Cleveland was visiting a family member in Shaker Heights in July. The death of Williams prompted several community members to ask city leaders to consider a pit bull ban. The ban under consideration would allow pit bulls currently living in Shaker Heights to stay. But no other pit bulls would be allowed to move in.

People on both sides of the issue spoke out in city council chambers Monday night. Williams’ granddaughter spoke in favor of a ban, saying, “You always see tragedies in the news. Since my grandmother’s attack, you continue to see tragedies. Just yesterday, a 9-year-old girl was mauled by a pit bull and killed on Long Island.”

Others argued that the dog owner needs to be held accountable for the actions of the dog. They opposed what are called “breed specific” laws, saying that it is wrong to label a dog merely because of its breed.

One citizen urged the city to enact meaningful legislation. “You have the power to sit back and legislate some piece of legislation that will put some teeth into a bill that will take care of this problem from the beginning.”

City leaders have scheduled more debate on the subject and more research will be done.
A vote is expected on January 12.

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