HB189 Fixes Ohio’s Dangerous Dog Law

HB189 Fixes Ohio’s Dangerous Dog Law

New bill drops ‘pit bull’ from vicious dog list, adds due process for animal owners


By: Patti Strand  Date: 01/9/2012 Category: | Animal Legislation | Uncategorized |

Update April 28, 2005: This bill has been sent to the Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee. Concerned dog owners need to contact their representative and the committee members below now.

The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee members are:

Jim Aslanides (R), Chairman

77 S. High St., 12th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-6014; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district94@ohr.state.oh.us

Jim McGregor, (R), Vice chairman

77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-6002; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district20@ohr.state.oh.us

John Domenick (D; ranking minority member)

77 S. High St., 10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-3735; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district95@ohr.state.oh.us

Timothy J. Cassell, (D)

77 S. High St., 10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-6074; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district63@ohr.state.oh.us

Tony Core (R)

77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-8147; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district83@ohr.state.oh.us

L. George Distel (D)

77 S. High St., 10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-1405; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district99@ohr.state.oh.us

Matthew J. Dolan (R)

77 S. High St., 12th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-5088; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district98@ohr.state.oh.us

Clyde Evans (R)

77 S. High St., 13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-1366; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district87@ohr.state.oh.us

Jennifer Garrison (D)

77 S. High St., 10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-8728; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district93@ohr.state.oh.us

Bob Gibbs (R)

77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-2994; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district97@ohr.state.oh.us

Mike Mitchell (D)

77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-8010; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district26@ohr.state.oh.us

Steve Reinhard (R)

77 S. High St., 12th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-6265; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district82@ohr.state.oh.us

Allan R. Sayre (D)

77 S. High St., 10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-8035; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district96@ohr.state.oh.us

John M. Schlicter (R)

77 S. High St., 12th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-7928; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district85@ohr.state.oh.us

Derrick Seaver (R)

77 S. High St., 13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-1507; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district78@ohr.state.oh.us

Arlene Setzer (R)

77 S. High St., 13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-8051; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district36@ohr.state.oh.us

Jeff Wagner (R)

77 S. High St., 12th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-1374; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district81@ohr.state.oh.us

Kathleen L. Walcher (R)

77 S. High St., 13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-9628; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district58@ohr.state.oh.us

Tyrone K. Yates (D)

77 S. High St., 11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-1308; Fax: (614) 644-9494; Email Address: district33@ohr.state.oh.us

 

 

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Ohio dog owners have a chance to restore sanity to the state’s vicious dog law while holding dog owners accountable for the actions of pets that are dangerous to the community.

Introduced by Representative Shawn Webster, a veterinarian from Millville, Ohio, and Representative Kathleen Walcher of Newark, Ohio HB 189 changes the breed-specific portion of the definition of vicious dog from “Belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog” to “Has been possessed, trained, or used for purposes of dogfighting.”

NAIA opposes breed specific legislation and supports the effort of Representatives Webster and Walcher to erase this discrimination from Ohio law. For information see the NAIA guidelines for a pet-friendly ordinance and the NAIA position statement on breed specific legislation.

Introduced in the wake of an Ohio Supreme Court decision that declared a substantial portion of the state’s animal control law to be unconstitutional, the bill also provides for due process for dog owners whose pets have been accused of aggressive behavior; authorizes appointment of hearing officers who have received training in canine behavior; and offers a detailed description of required confinement for vicious and dangerous dogs.

HB189 deserves the active support of every dog owner in Ohio and of out-of-state dog owners interested in fair and equitable animal control laws. It removes the potential for harassment of owners of dogs identified as ‘pit bulls’ and bases confinement and insurance requirements on the dog’s behavior, not its physical appearance. It also protects owners whose dogs have been accused but not convicted of bad behavior and holds owners responsible for the actions of their pets if an allegation is proven.

The Ohio Dog Warden’s Association plans to fight to keep the ‘pit bull’ language in the bill, and they have gained the support of the Ohio County Commissioners Association. However, we have the numbers on our side ... if we band together, stay on message, and remain persistent, we can win.

Analysis of HB 189

HB 189 is not limited to the portion of state law that defines and deals with dangerous or vicious dogs. The bill amends much of ORC 955.11 and 955.22, a substantial portion of the state’s animal control law. Along with providing for due process for dog owners and eliminating breed-specific restrictions, the bill ...

  • Allows county commissioners to appoint hearing officers for cases in which dogs are considered dangerous or vicious because of their actions;
  • Requires training in canine behavior for those who are appointed as hearing officers;
  • Specifies dimensions for fencing to confine dangerous or vicious dogs;
  • Provides a detailed description of “serious physical harm”;
  • Requires an “adequate” leash, tether, or fence for the confinement of any dog;
  • Prevents ownership of more than one vicious dog;
  • Requires owners to pay for impoundment costs if any dogs are seized in violation of the leash law;
  • Gives the hearing officer or court the authority to require a vicious dog to be spayed or neutered if it is returned to the owner; and
  • Requires the Ohio Veterinary Medical Board to develop course standards for training hearing officers in canine behavior.

NAIA supports these provision in HB189 and believe the bill can be strengthened further with one further change and a few additions.

Changes we’d like to see

We’d like to see a couple of changes in the bill.

  • HB 189 still considers a chain link leash to be appropriate for restraining a vicious dog; we’d like that specification dropped from the bill as chain link leashes are unreliable.

NAIA also supports ...

  • Adding language similar to the following to the definition of vicious dog: “A dog that has been used in the commission of a crime or is used to guard criminal activities or threaten members of the community.”
  • A provision that allows for removal of a dog from the dangerous dog designation, including an obedience-training requirement and a time period of good behavior before the owners can petition for removal.
  • A requirement for microchip identification of dogs found to be dangerous or vicious.

What you can do

NAIA urges all dog owners to help end this breed-specific travesty and improve due process for animal owners in Ohio by contacting the bill’s sponsors and pledging support, contacting the members of the committee that will hear testimony on the bill, asking your own representative to support the bill, supporting amendments to accomplish the above improvements, and traveling to Columbus to testify on hearing days. The bill has not yet been assigned to a committee, but when it is, we will amend this alert and provide contact information.

HB189 can be found at http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=126_HB_189

Your representative can be found at http://www.house.state.oh.us/jsps/Representatives.jsp

Sponsor contact information is:

Representative Shawn Webster DVM

77 S. High St
13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-5094
Fax: (614) 644-9494
Email Address: district53@ohr.state.oh.us

Representative Kathleen Walcher

77 S. High St
13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-9628
Fax: (614) 644-9494
Email Address: district58@ohr.state.oh.us




About The Author

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Patti Strand - NAIA National Director

Patti is a recognized expert and consultant on contemporary animal issues, most notably responsible dog ownership and the animal rights movement. She often appears on radio and television and her articles on canine issues, animal welfare, public policy and animal rights have appeared in major US news publications and in trade, professional and scientific journals. Patti and her…


All Authors Of This Article: | Patti Strand |

 

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