A month after a packed house requested the elimination of Sunbury's vicious-dogs ordinance that bans pit bulls in the village, staff members are no closer to presenting options to Village Council.

A large crowd gathered at council's April 19 meeting to express their displeasure in the existing village law, calling for change and citing unfair targeting of pit bulls.

The vicious-dogs ordinance was established in 1991. It bans pit bulls within the village and labels any dog that bites "without provocation" as a vicious dog, requiring it to be confined to a "pen/enclosure/house" or "tethered to a stake."

It requires owners of such vicious dogs to provide proof of at least $100,000 of insurance coverage in the event of the dog biting again.

Village Administrator Allen Rothermel said staff and legal representatives have been "doing due diligence" since the meeting, but are not yet ready to present anything to council.

He did, however, acknowledge that the volume of people speaking in April necessitated looking further into the issue.

"We had a good hour and a half or two hours of people coming in and voicing their opinions," he said.

The issue of classifying pit bulls as "vicious" breeds or banning them from municipalities is nothing new.

A long and public battle over the distinction took place in Reynoldsburg in 2014, ending with the city maintaining its ban on pit bulls. Within the last year, Newark decided to stop automatically classifying pit bulls as vicious, while Bexley removed a ban on the breed.

During a September 2016 meeting of Sunbury Village Council, one individual requested a change in the law.

According to meeting minutes, council decided the same night not to make any changes, citing "four recent dog bites," three of which were by pit bulls.

In order to change or eliminate the law, council would need to pass a resolution, which would require three readings and a public hearing. The issue was not discussed at council's May 17 meeting.

Rothermel said he and others are in the process of gathering information. Rothermel said he was scheduled to talk to Reynoldsburg leaders about their process and wants to "properly inform" council "so they can make an informed decision."

He said it's unclear how exactly the village would go about making a change, adding that uncertainty was common ground even with those who spoke up at last month's meeting.

"I don't even know that they necessarily offered any specific remedy," he said. "They were just expressing opposition to our current legislation. ... A lot of people said, 'We're not exactly sure what the remedy is, but we're not happy with the breed-specific legislation.' "

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