Bexley City Council has scheduled a public hearing for an ordinance that would lift the citywide ban on pit bulls for its Nov. 15 meeting.

Bexley City Council has scheduled a public hearing for an ordinance that would lift the citywide ban on pit bulls for its Nov. 15 meeting.

That session is set for 6 p.m. at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.

The hearing will include public comment as well as testimony from experts who can discuss research regarding pit bulls and their behavioral tendencies, said Councilman Richard Sharp, chairman of the Safety Committee.

Sharp introduced the ordinance at council's Sept. 27 meeting.

"The (city's) animal control officer is making arrangements for three to four guests" who can answer council's questions about pit bulls, he said at second reading of the ordinance on Oct. 25.

If approved by council, the ordinance would allow residents to own pit bulls and other dogs with pit-bull mixes under several conditions.

The conditions include: pet owners must register dogs that have pit-bull characteristics with the city; pit-bull owners must have physical fencing, rather than invisible fencing, to restrain the dogs; pit bulls must be spayed and neutered and must have a behavioral certification, such as passing the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test.

The purpose of the ordinance is to simplify enforcement for the city's animal control officer and eliminate confusion among pet owners as to whether they can own certain mixed breeds, Mayor Ben Kessler said at the legislation's first reading Oct. 18.

"We've been put in a situation where a resident has called and said, 'Someone owns a pit bull,' and we have to make a determination as to whether it's a pit bull or not. It's this very gray area," he said. "The intent of the ordinance is to eliminate the gray area and create a legal route to pit bull ownership in Bexley and, nevertheless, still have some restrictions."

Kessler noted the statewide ban on pit bulls was lifted in 2012, but still gave municipalities the right to ban the breed. Bexley is the only central Ohio community other than Reynoldsburg that has maintained a ban on pit bulls, Kessler said.

Kessler and council members discussed at that time adding further provisions to the ordinance, such as allowing the city's animal control officer to issue temporary registrations for pit bulls while pet owners complete the other conditions of the ordinance.

Councilman Troy Markham suggested the ordinance also require pit-bull owners to provide proof that their dogs are listed on their homeowner's insurance. Councilwoman Mary Gottesman suggested the ordinance require that pit-bull owners have 6-foot fences to restrain their dogs.

In other business Oct. 25, council approved Ordinance 36-16, which places an 18-month moratorium on the cultivation, processing or retail dispensing of medical marijuana. A state law that took effect Sept. 8 allows people with certain medical conditions to purchase and use medical marijuana at the recommendation of a doctor.

The purpose of Bexley's ordinance is to allow the city to monitor what regulations the state imposes on medical marijuana dispensaries and to prevent businesses from setting up shop in Bexley before those regulations take effect, Kessler said.

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