After months of deliberation and meetings flooded with concerned citizens, Lakewood city council members voted last night to end the ban on pit bulls. The decision modified the city’s Dangerous and Vicious Animals law (Chapter 506 of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Lakewood) so that pit bulls or canary dogs are no longer specifically targeted as vicious creatures. Instead, the law will affect all dogs with violent tendencies, regardless of breed. Meaning, unless a pit bull or any other dog showcases aggressive behavior, they are welcome to live as pets without breed restrictions.
Ohio City resident Venchise Glenn has been attending the Lakewood city council meetings for nearly nine months and pushing, along with many others, for the change, hoping to someday move to Lakewood with her beloved three-legged pit bull, Pippin. “We are one step closer to moving beyond people being terrified of the shape of a dog and instead focusing on how ownership and training can affect a dog. To me, it means progress," she said.
Mayor Mike Summers first proposed a change to the banned dog legislation in January and council members worked to have the eventual proposal be breed-neutral. The final vote on Monday passed unanimously, ending a decade long ban on pit bulls. Support from groups like All Breeds Lakewood and I’m With Charlie helped bring the issue into the public eye. Cleveland Animal Protective League CEO and President Sharon Harvey spoke at Monday’s meeting stating, “By expanding your focus on enforcement from the type of dog that you’re enforcing your laws against to be the behavior of all dogs, you are creating a safer and more humane Lakewood.”
The change to the ordinance also now requires all dog owners to obtain $10,000 in liability insurance. Harvey continued, saying, “Not having it is not going to make someone an irresponsible pet owner. There are plenty of people who own dogs who just don’t have the disposable income to afford an insurance policy.”
While there are sure to be residents who disagree with the city council’s ruling, the standing ovation that followed the 7-0 vote would lead many to believe this is the true will of the people. “The changes to these ordinances are based on trust, and I hope we can earn their trust,” Glenn said.