Swanton residents dispute Pit Bull discrimination laws - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Swanton residents dispute Pit Bull discrimination laws

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SWANTON TOWNSHIP, OH (Toledo News Now) -

A year ago the state moved away from breed specific dog laws but the Village of Swanton still considers all pit bull type dogs to be vicious, but now an Ohio Dog Advocacy Group is challenging the village's dog ordinance.

Jean Keating is the co-founder of the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates. She's pushing for a change to the Village of Swanton's "vicious" dog ordinance.

"The Village of Swanton has an ordinance that's discriminating against a variety of dogs and it violates the state law that went breed-neutral just over a year ago," said Keating. 

The ordinance states that any breed of dog that is commonly known as a pit bull is considered vicious. That includes mixed breeds. 

"It also is very difficult to enforce," said Keating. "It requires someone to identify the breed of dog in mix breed dogs which is virtually impossible."

The ordinance requires that the pet owners register the dog with the police department and village, provide proof of insurance, pay annual registration fees, and the dog is required to wear a muzzle during walks.

"If they want the dogs to be trained as a combat dog, then yes, they should have a muzzle on them," said dog owner Christina Costilla. "But if you really look at the pit bulls they're just big sweethearts."

"I think there are good and bad things about it because there are a lot of kids in town that play. I just think it depends on the dog and owner," said dog owner Chelsea Whitcomb. 

Keating says for a dog to be considered vicious it should depend on its actions, not the breed, that's why she's  pushing for the ordinance to mirror the state law.  

Village Administrator Jon Gochenoer says they're currently reviewing the existing ordinance. 

"We're having our attorney look at our current ordinance and to see if it needs to be modified or updated," said Gochenou. 

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