April 18, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain Council still working on pit bull law

LORAIN — Lorain City Council’s Police and Fire Committee still wants to iron out some issues with a proposed pit bull ordinance before sending a recommendation to Council.

Mike Mattei, the city’s animal control officer, told the committee that pit bulls are becoming more of a problem every day and pulled out numbers to support the ordinance.

Of the 146 pit bulls he’s picked up since his first day on the job in January, he said, 85 percent were euthanized because no owner came forward to claim them.

Mattei said pit bulls were to blame for 60 of the 305 dog bites reported throughout the city last year, and went on to show the committee a picture of the injuries sustained by a 7-year-old girl after she was mauled in May.

“It’s a dog that’s inflicted bad damage and practically removed the face of a girl seven months ago,” he said.

The ordinance would establish the pit bull as a vicious breed and requires owners to properly confine pit bulls, in addition to limiting owners to one pit bull per household or residence.

Each pit bull will have to be registered with the city, according to the proposed ordinance, and proof that the dog has been spayed or neutered also will be required.

Should owners violate the restrictions, they will be fined between $25 and $100 for the first offense. Each subsequent offense will result in a fine of at least $75 and can grow to more than $250 and include a 30-day jail sentence.

Lorain Law Director Mark Provenza said the ordinance would allow owners with multiple pit bulls prior to the ordinance to be grandfathered in and be exempt from the new law.

Shana Klein, President of Canine Advocates of Ohio, told the committee that breed specific legislation doesn’t work, and whipped out her own facts about dog attacks.

“There hasn’t been a fatal pit bull attack in 15 years,” she said. “There are 40 breeds of dogs that have severely mauled people.”

The committee requested more time to review the ordinance, and will meet again on the topic next month.
Contact Stephen Szucs at (440) 336-4016 or online at sszucs@chroniclet.com