Vicious dog law changes May 22

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Starting Tuesday, pit bulls will no longer be considered vicious dogs in Ohio. Changes to the state's vicious dog law that classifies dogs into three categories based on their behavior, not their breed, are set to take effect.

The new law also makes it easier for people to adopt pit bull type dogs.

Breed-specific language has been removed, and Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle says the change will allow her office to hold more people accountable:

"So if a German Shepherd bites someone, we can declare that dog dangerous or vicious depending on the case. If a beagle does, we can do the same thing. Before we were pretty limited in what we could do for breeds other than pit bull-type dogs."

Under the new law, a nuisance dog is one that has menaced a person off of its owner's property, and without provocation.

A dog cited three times for being a nuisance can then be labeled dangerous. A dangerous dog has injured a person or killed another dog, and a vicious dog is one that has killed or seriously injured a person.

Tomorrow starts a fresh slate for dogs. They can't be labeled based on past behavior.

"So that's kind of a limitation of the new law because something has to happen after tomorrow for it to be declared any of these categories," said Lyle.

The new law also means new procedures for adopting pit bull type dogs. Under the old law, you had to have liability insurance and a locked-fence yard. Now, the adoption process is streamlined.

"It really made same day adoptions impossible. Now with the change in the law and our subsequent changes in policy, same day adoption of pit bulls should be no problem," said John Dinon of the Toledo Area Humane Society.

Everyone in the dog community is getting ready for the first change to the law in 25 years.

"It's a major change, a change to our paperwork and a change to our policies and how things work a little bit so we're still kind of ironing out the details as we go but we're still ready to go and roll out the law tomorrow so we can keep the community safe," Lyle explained.

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