Reynoldsburg News

Residents ask council not to lift ban on pit bulls

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Even as an ad hoc committee prepares for its first meeting tonight, Thursday, March 27, to begin reviewing the city's laws about dangerous dogs, residents on both sides continue to express their views to Reynoldsburg City Council.

Residents who own pit bulls and members of Pit Bulls for Reynoldsburg offered statistics from Franklin County Animal Control and the city police department at council's meeting Monday, March 24, to support their stance that few of the animals involved in attacks against people are actually pit bulls.

On the other side of the issue, several residents who don't want the law changed asked council Monday to keep the current ordinance in place.

Bruce Sowell, who is also a member of the ad hoc committee, said he is a dog lover, but does not want the ban against pit bulls lifted.

"Our city is safe because of the ban against pit bulls," he said.

"I got a call today from a lady out of Parma, Ohio, and she said the Parma citizens voted to keep a ban against pit bulls, despite a group trying to get their city to lift the ban.

"It's not just us and Bexley," Sowell said.

Reynoldsburg and Bexley are the only central Ohio cities that ban pit bulls.

Several cities in northeast, Ohio, including Parma, prohibit the breed and label it as vicious or dangerous.

"I love most animals," resident Dan Bender told council.

"I have serious concerns about pit bulls, however. I have read too many stories about those dogs attacking humans and other dogs.

"Our community has the right to pass laws to keep us safe," Bender said.

"For my family's safety, I respectfully ask that you keep this ban in place."

Reynoldsburg police officer Robert Campbell said he was forced to shoot a dog he identified as a pit bull Feb. 15, after the dog rushed up behind him and bit him on the back of the leg.

According to the police report, officers responded to a complaint about pit bull dog running loose on Carlyle Drive. Campbell said he was forced to shoot the dog in the face after it attacked him.

The dog "repeatedly assumed an aggressive posture and growled while displaying its teeth," as officers confronted it on a front porch, the police report said.

As the officers attempted to calm the dog, Campbell got word of an active gun complaint and turned quickly to leave, which is when the dog charged at him and he "felt a small pinch on the back of my left calf."

The dog later died after being picked up by Franklin County Animal Control.

Resident Norm Brusk said the ad hoc committee formed to study the city's dangerous dog ordinance is a "waste of time."

"This issue should have been completed a long time ago," he said. "They should have been able to make up their minds on this thing."

Brusk said he is opposed to lifting the ban; he believes pit bulls should be considered dangerous dogs.

"This has gone on and on and the ad hoc committee will be just more of the same," he said.

Councilman Dan Skinner said members of the ad hoc committee were contacted this week to make sure each one agrees to study the city ordinance.

Committee members are: residents Carrie Acosta, Bruce Sowell and Mark McKenzie; former school board member Ryan Brzezinski, former councilwoman Monica DeBrock, former emergency department physician Dr. Heath Jolliff, Reynoldsburg veterinarian Dr. Joel Melin, professional dog trainer Scott Mueller and Joe Rock, director of Franklin County Animal Control.

Non-voting members of the ad hoc committee are Reynoldsburg City Attorney Jed Hood and Police Chief Jim O'Neill.

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