Ohio Senate Passes Bill to Eliminate ‘Vicious’ Pit Bull Label

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Ohio is the only US state that classifies a specific breed of dog as vicious, but a bill passed in the Senate yesterday could put an end to existing, widely contested breed specific legislation.

gavelUnder current state law, vicious dogs are “defined as one that has seriously hurt or killed a person, killed another dog or is among those commonly known as pit bulls.”

The new bill would would require evidence to prove that a dog is a threat to public safety, and would remove the pit bull reference from the law. The bill now moves on to the Ohio House, which recently approved a similar version of the bill.

If passed, the new law would dictate that dogs be judged on an individual basis. Dogs who bite humans could be classified in one of three categories: “nuisance,” “dangerous” or “ vicious.”

The vicious classification would be reserved only for dogs who, without provocation, seriously injure or kill people. Those animals could be seized and/or euthanized.

Sen. Mark Wagoner, R-Toledo, said Ohio laws should not discriminate against any particular dog breed. “In doing so, it discourages responsible dog owners from complying with licensing requirements. Canine profiling is expensive, ineffective and infringes on property rights.”