Officials in Newark Ohio voted 8-1, at their last meeting, to amend the current breed discriminatory law. Initially this was to be the first reading of the proposal, however, council moved to make the vote final since some members of the council would be leaving soon with the end of the term close.
The amended law would allow people with targeted dogs to apply for the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate in order to be allowed to manage their dogs without certain restrictions. The dog will need to be tested annually in order to maintain their status.
Dogs who receive their CGC will be allowed to be walked without a muzzle and will not longer be considered a vicious dog by default. These dogs must be on leash at all times. Newark does not have a leash law that applies to all dogs.
With the current designation of a vicious dog by default, owners of targeted dogs must have a special registration, insurance, muzzling and confinement requirements met in order to keep their dogs.
The changes received opposition from the Police Chief, who cited concerns about enforcement. The one opposing vote from the council used the stance of the Police Chief as the reason for his opposition. It is interesting that difficulty of enforcement would be a primary point of opposition, considering the difficulties in enforcing any form of breed discriminatory legislation.
While this is certainly a step in the right direction, there are many things that need to be addressed in Newark’s dangerous dog law. Perhaps this was not the time for the conversation, but it is a conversation that is needed, and one that will have to be had in the near future if officials want to make an impact on dog bites in the community.