Sunday, March 18, 2001

Golf Manor Council wants teeth in law governing dogs

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        GOLF MANOR — Village Council has proposed a get-tough law for owners of pets considered dangerous or vicious.

        The law, which will go before council for approval on March 26, stipulates that dangerous or vicious animals must be kept in a locked pen with a top.

[photo] Art Pierson plays with Ebony, his chow puppy, in the back yard of his home on Hammel Avenue.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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        The dog also may be kept on a leash as long as it is adequately restrained. And if the dog is being walked, it must be on a leash.

        Councilman Charles Hughes said council members decided to take a look at their law after an incident in Madisonville on Feb. 24, when a pit bull jumped a fence and attacked a 15- year-old boy.

        Belinda Carter, 44, of the 6600 block of Buckingham Place, was charged with harboring a vicious dog, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

        The boy was treated at a local hospital for cuts and bruises on the neck and face.

        “My concern after that incident was to change our law to require that the dog be kept in a nonscalable fence,” Mr. Hughes said.

        “We wanted to provide that extra margin of safety so that nothing would happen in Golf Manor as did in Madisonville.”

   Golf Manor lists these dogs as vicious:
    • Pit bull terriers
    • Staffordshire bull terriers
    • American Staffordshire terriers.
    The law will also list as dangerous Rottweilers, chows, German shepherds and Dobermans.
        The current law includes this section, but it gives owners options such as keeping the dog in a locked fence or enclosure. Those sections of the law will be deleted.

        “After we started discussing the law, we decided that using the term nonscalable fence was not adequate,” Mr. Hughes said. “It leaves it up to the owner to determine what is nonscalable.”

        Mr. Hughes said under the village's current law, if a dangerous or vicious dog jumps a fence, whether the fence is 2 feet tall or 20, and attacks someone the owner cannot be charged because the dog was kept in a fenced yard.

        Violation of the new law is considered a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Each subsequent violation is a third-degree misdemeanor.

        The new law is already being criticized by some dog owners.

        Art Pierson of Hammel Avenue owns a chow which is on the dangerous-animal list. He keeps his 6-month-old dog in a fenced yard and has a doghouse in the yard.

        “I kept two Dobermans for 13 years in a fenced yard when I lived in Silverton. I never had any problems with them jumping the fence and attacking anyone,” Mr. Pierson said.


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