State Representative Barbara Sears (R-Monclova Twp.) has announced that the Ohio House of Representatives today concurred on Senate changes to House Bill 14—which revises the stereotyping of pit bills and adds due process in the Ohio Revised Code.
House Bill 14 would remove the Ohio Revised Code specification of pit bull breeds being inherently vicious. Ohio law defines vicious dogs as having histories of unprovoked aggression as well as any dog commonly known as a “pit bull.” Since a pit bull is not a distinct dog breed, the term often refers to other breeds’ resemblance to a pit bull, including American Staffordshire terriers, boxers, mastiffs, and bull terriers.
“I am very pleased that House Bill 14 will be sent to Governor Kasich,” said Rep. Sears, who sponsored the legislation. “For too long, many dogs with good temperaments have been unfairly discriminated against while many other truly vicious ones have been permitted to roam our streets. Breed-specific laws imply that pit bulls, by their very nature, are vicious and are the only types of dogs that can attack without provocation—but this is simply not the case. Removing this stereotype from law will allow us to take a positive step toward protecting Ohioans from any dog that is truly dangerous, regardless of breed or appearance.”
Specifically, House Bill 14 will designate a problem dog into one of three categories: a “nuisance dog” is a dog that has, while off the premises of its owner, chased or approached a person in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude or attack, or has attempted to bite or endanger any person; a “dangerous dog” is a dog that, without provocation, has caused injury (other than killing or serious injury) to any person, has killed another dog, or has been the subject of a third violation of a certain prohibition; and a “vicious dog” is a dog that, without provocation, has killed or caused serious injury to any person.
The legislation also enacts specifications about liability insurance and proper restraint of each classification of dog while on the premises of the owner. Additionally, individuals who have been convicted of or have pleaded guilty to a felony offense of violence or a felony offense relating to domestic animals are prohibited from possessing a dog that has been determined to be “dangerous.”
“The state of Ohio will finally hold dog owners responsible through the passage of House Bill 14,” said Rep. Sears. “I’m very happy that pit bulls as a breed will no longer be the scapegoats but that, instead, vicious dog cases will be examined individually.”
House Bill 14 passed by a vote of 67-30 and awaits the signature of the governor.