Breed Specific Law is Out in Ohio!

Posted by Stephanie Ulmer, Guest Blogger on February 29, 2012

Culminating a great effort to bring breed specific legislation to an end in Ohio, on February 21st, Governor John Kasich officially signed HB 14 into law. Dogs will now to be regarded by their behavior instead of their appearance. WOIO.com reports that the new law effectively eliminates the prior 25-year-old Ohio law that automatically declared pit bulls to be vicious dogs. The new law will take effect in 90 days from the date of the governor’s signature.

“In addition to dropping any reference to a specific breed of dog from the law, the new law will redefine current designations of ‘vicious’ and ‘dangerous’ dog, create a third lesser category of ‘nuisance’ dog, create a process for dog owners to appeal law enforcement’s labeling of their dogs, and place the burden to prove the classification by clear and convincing evidence on the dog warden.” The law also requires “the owner of a dangerous dog to obtain a dangerous dog registration certificate,” prohibits certain felons from owning dogs under certain conditions, and changes the penalties involving ownership of nuisance, dangerous, and vicious dogs.

It is the hope of all that the new law will “improve the ability of dog wardens and law enforcement officers to protect the public from all dangerous dogs, regardless of their breed, while ending the senseless punishment of good dog owners and good dogs for acts they have not committed,” according to the Cleveland Animal Protective League.  
And it is about time that the law reflected actual animal behavior instead of hype and stereotype. How many good dogs were denied the opportunity to thrive with a loving family under the old law just because of who they were born to? Thankfully, dogs will now have a fresh start.