Reynoldsburg News

Ban on pit bulls

Joseph: List for study committee coming soon

Members would be tasked with studying ban, breed neutral legislation issue

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An ad hoc committee to study the city of Reynoldsburg's ban on pit bulls may become a reality after all.

Dog owners have been showing up at Reynoldsburg City Council meetings since last summer to protest the city's ban and encourage council members to consider changing their "breed specific legislation" as other cities around central Ohio have.

City Council President Doug Joseph came up with a list of people to form an ad hoc committee that would study the issue last fall, but the committee was dissolved before it began, by a 3-2 vote Nov. 12.

Councilman Chris Long made the motion to "reconsider" the list, saying Joseph overlooked the fact he needed a majority of council to approve an ad hoc committee and had not submitted an agenda with a clear termination date for the committee.

"So technically the committee did not exist," Long said.

Long said the list was "stacked with pro-pit bull people" and he wanted to see a more balanced list.

Council members voting against the committee choices Nov. 12 were Long, Leslie Kelly, Cornelius McGrady III and Mel Clemens.

Members Barth Cotner, Monica DeBrock and Scott Barrett voted to accept the committee.

DeBrock's term has since ended and she was replaced in January by newly elected Councilman Dan Skinner.

Those in favor of changing the city's ban showed up at council's meeting Feb. 10 to ask about a new ad hoc committee.

Resident Ryan Poe said he moved to the city not knowing there was a ban on any specific dog.

"Had we known, we would not have moved here, as we wanted to adopt one (pit bull) as a companion for our boxer," he said.

Poe said he was speaking on behalf of "Citizens for a Breed Neutral Reynoldsburg" to request that the ad hoc committee be "resurrected."

He said Long told supporters at the time the list was dissolved that he was willing to work with them to come up with "a balanced committee."

"Ample time has passed for consideration of additional members," Poe said. "We fully understand that the city's budget is an important priority and is consuming a great deal of council's time. However, we believe that the ad hoc committee will take a couple of weeks to schedule and require an additional six to eight weeks to complete evaluation of this legislation, by which time, the budget should be in hand."

Poe said his group and other Reynoldsburg citizens who want to see breed neutral legislation have been "patient and respectful."

"We deserve the same courtesy and hope you can provide it," he said.

Lori Schwartzkopf also spoke in support of lifting the ban. She said Powell was the latest city to approve breed neutral legislation.

Other cities with breed neutral legislation include: Columbus, Delaware, Gahanna, Grove City, Hilliard, London, Marysville, Pataskala, Pickerington, Westerville, Whitehall and Worthington.

Cities that allow bit bulls with some restrictions, such as an insurance requirement or keeping the dogs in locked pens or locked backyards, are Dublin, Canal Winchester, Groveport, Newark and Upper Arlington.

Bexley is the only other local city besides Reynoldsburg to ban pit bulls specifically.

Joseph told Poe he is working on a new list of names.

"Two weeks from tonight I expect to have a new list for the ad hoc committee," he said.

People on the original list were: Stephen J. Smith, an attorney who has experience with breed-specific issues; Dr. Joel Melin, a Reynoldsburg veterinarian; Dr. Heath Jolliff, a Nationwide Children's Hospital emergency department physician; Bradley Hauser, representative of Pit Bulls for Reynoldsburg; Paula Evans, agent for the Licking County Humane Society; and Scott Mueller, a Reynoldsburg-area professional dog trainer.

City Attorney Jed Hood and Reynoldsburg Police Chief Jim O'Neill also were on the original list.

City Council will meet next at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, at the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building, 7232 E. Main St.

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