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Pit bulls should be registered, Cincy leader says

Published: Friday, August 01, 2014 @ 6:30 PM
Updated: Friday, August 01, 2014 @ 6:30 PM

A Cincinnati councilman says pit bull owners should be required to register their dogs as part of his proposed public policy to address vicious dogs in the city.

Christopher Smitherman, chairman of the city council's law and public safely committee, submitted his proposed legislation on Friday.

It would create an Animal Task Force and require registration of pit bulls, with financial penalties for those who do not comply. The legislation also provides an opportunity for pet owners to be educated on how to care for their pets, according to Smitherman's news release.

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Smitherman's proposal comes following high-profile pit bull maulings in the cities of Cincinnati and Dayton -- one that resulted in the death of a 7-month-old boy last month in Dayton; and a 6-year-old girl left without a tongue following a June attack in Cincinnati.

Smitherman said he hopes the Cincinnati council will have a hearing on his proposal in September.

His proposal comes two years after Ohio moved away from breed-specific vicious dog labels. Current state law defines a dangerous dog based on behavior, not breed.

However, two Miami Valley state legislators have said the law isn't tough enough following the mauling death in February of a Dayton woman outside her home.

Sen. Bill Beagle, a Tipp City Republican, and Rep. Roland Winburn, a Dayton Democrat, say they are working to improve the law. They have held discussions on topics such as harsher penalties; how to target problem dog owners; and whether to set standards for posted warnings about dangerous dogs.