Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pit bull debate sparks dog fight in Dayton, Ky.

KENTUCKY --Molly and Diamond aren't welcome in Dayton, Kentucky.

Right now, the two-year-old dogs are staying in undisclosed locations in Northern Kentucky.

Otherwise the city of Dayton would confiscate them for violating its ban on pit bulls.

Their owner, Robert Wade, wants to bring them back to his home on Eighth Avenue in Dayton. More than 3,200 other people seem to want the same and have signed an online petition to overturn Dayton's ban on pit bulls.

"They tore the wall down in Russia, communism, it went down," Wade said. "So they said. They opened that (expletive) up and extended it over here. Next year you're going to tell me my truck is two different colors so I can't drive."


Molly and Diamond earlier this week seemed to enjoy a walk with their owner at Frederick's Landing park in Wilder, unaware they were the center of the latest local battle between cities and pit bulls.

Both dogs look like pit bulls, but Wade maintains Diamond is a boxer mix with a jet black coat and Molly is a white pit bull mix who's deaf. Wade said he keeps them inside or enclosed in his yard and they've never attacked anyone.

Pit bull laws locally crept back into the headlines last year after a 6-year-old Westwood girl was attacked by a pit bull. Cincinnati City Council ultimately opted not to require special collars for pit bulls as proposed by Mayor John Cranley.

Many other cities in the area do have laws banning or restricting pit bulls. Fort Thomas bans pit bulls. Newport requires pit bull owners to have special insurance coverage and a microchip implanted in the dog with the owner's information.

But nationally, cities are starting to ease restrictions on these dogs. More than 100 cities across the United States over the past two years have overturned bans and other restrictions that target pit bulls, according to a report by USA Today.

Will Dayton, Kentucky join the list?

Wade's fight to keep his dogs began a week ago when a resident complained to Mayor Virgil Boruske that the dogs were "jumping on the fence."

Wade said the dogs were inside the house and were simply barking. The city's animal control officer visited Wade told him he couldn't keep his dogs in the city.

Since then, the dogs have stayed elsewhere. Wade received a harsh reminder Tuesday on what would happen if he brought his dogs back in the city when the city served a notice to confiscate the dogs.

The dogs, however, weren't there. While Wade claims one of them, Diamond, isn't a pit bull, the city has deemed them both as having the properties of a pit bull.

"They think they're lap dogs," Wade said. "They're like my kids."

Boruske said he's simply following the law.

"We've got to uphold the ordinance," Boruske said. "They cannot be in town. I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do."

Wade believes he's being unfairly targeted because a friend of the mayor's complained. He and his neighbors said they've seen police cars parked outside his house in the past week to make sure he doesn't bring the dogs back.


Boruske said that's not true. He wouldn't reveal the identity of the complainant but said it's not favoritism.

Boruske stands by the city's pit bull ban. He voted for it as a city council member in 2006.

"They are aggressive animals," Boruske said.

Those gathering the petition believe breed-specific laws are unfair and want the city council to repeal the law. Lisa Rittenhouse, a neighbor of Wade's, started the petition. So far, more than 3,200 people signed the petition as of Friday She hopes to have 5,000 signatures to present to city council at its next meeting May 5. Though many of the signatures are from outside Dayton, she hopes the petition will spur the city to change the law to define vicious dogs by behavior not breed.

"I have a boxer, and I'm afraid that if all the bigger dogs get a bad rap, it's just going to start going down the line," Rittenhouse said. "I know pit bulls have a bad reputation, but so did Dobermans in the 1990s. In the '80s it was Rottweilers."

Haha, she read that online. I'm surprised she didn't throw in about them being nanny dogs and the dog from the Little Rascals. And she forgot to mention the story where a poodle or golden retriever attacked her and authorities "wouldn't do anything".

Boruske said he's not in favor of lifting the ban, but other members of city council are more open to the idea. Vice Mayor and City Councilman Ben Baker said he's undecided on whether the law should change and will talk to other cities with pit bull bans before the next council meeting on May 5.

"I'm undecided on it," Baker said. "I do believe breed-specific laws are somewhat archaic. I believe every dog owner should be a responsible dog owner."

(Cincinnati.com - April 24, 2015)

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