Today, a Cincinnati Council committee voted 5-1 to repeal the city's breed ban making pit bulls illegal in the city.
The city is considering changing the law after HB 14 was inacted to repeal the state wide breed-specific legislation. Councilman Chris Seelbach, who was elected in December 2011, proposed the ordinance change says he has never supported the city's breed ban. "I've always believed that entire breeds should not be punished -- we need to punish bad owners." The ordinance is supported by Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls who notes that vicious dogs are not breed-specific.
Councilman Cecil Thomas was the lone dissenting vote. He said he was concerned about enforcement issues surrounding a breed neutral ordinance (more similar to the state law) vs the city's current breed ban.
Apparently Thomas has been numb to the progression of the Cincinnati ordinance. Because of the law, the city 'euthanized" over 1000 pit bulls in 2007, and spent more than $86,000 prosecuting the 50 'pit bulls' taken from people's homes for being there illegally. In June, 2008, the city passed another ordinance that began training police officers to identify illegal pit bulls because animal control was unable to handle all of the enforcement issues. And then, in 2009, the city passed a law that made it illegal to bred and sell pit bulls -- even though it was already illegal to own or possess them.
So enforcing the current law hasn't been exactly a dream come true.
The motion will now go before the entire council for adoption this week - -making Cincinnati primed to join Cleveland and Toledo as major metropolitan cities in Ohio that repealed their breed specific laws and the state of Ohio itself, which no longer has a breed-specific law.
Great job by Councilman Seelbach and Vice Mayor Qualls (and others) who have supported this repeal - and to the many in the Cincinnati area who have worked hard to make this happen. Awesome job folks.