Anti-BSL Makes Headway in Ohio 5yr After Tellings v Ohio

Long standing activity to change the breed discriminatory dog laws in Ohio, Florida, and Colorado have met with limited success. We have worked for years with one of the experts responsible for the Tellings v Ohio initial verdict [challenging Toledo Muni Code, finding pitbull type dogs were definitely not inherently dangerous) and the same expert also was used to help overturn HSUS’ “depictions of animal abuse” law (18 U.S.C. Sect.48– aka “crush films”) at the United States Supreme Court in U.S. v Stevens:

However, one municipal law in Ohio, which in  2007, was challenged in Tellings v Ohio 871 N.E.2d 1152 (Ohio, 2007) and subsequently reversed in a political decision, has finally come home to rest.

Victory for Ohio’s dogs is resulting in other officials across North America giving their breed discriminatory laws a second look. (This bill only affects the law at the state level. Municipalities are not required to change their own ordinances. If a city or county within Ohio has BSL or a breed ban, that will not change, so please exercise caution when traveling in Ohio with your dog.)

Bill 16 will soon be voted on this week to repeal the Ontario pit bull ban. Legislation to end the pit bull ban in Miami-Dade County — Florida’s only county-wide breed discriminatory law — gained momentum as it recently passed its first committee hurdles in both the Senate and the House with overwhelming support.  See our PD blurb last year:  [partially shown below]

As for the ridiculous subsequent “reversal”  in Tellings that was done by the Ohio Supreme Court, it  shows how insane/ political such laws can be. Dog catcher Skeldon’s word was accepted over any other authority, despite his lack of credentials. He was later  going to be fired and quit after a public debacle arose  regarding  his abuse and torture of animals in shelter ……. yet another lower court Ohio judge has found that the Toledo Ordinance violated the US Constitution.  Toledo law allowed one to own a pitbull subject to certain rules, but the State law claimed that all pitbulls were prima facie vicious, regardless of any evidence proving that assertion. Currently there are efforts to change the Ohio state law in that regard but no finalization has been obtained yet.

In finding Toledo law as violating due process, dogs were “seized” by animal control but such dogs were NOT “pitbulls” which lends authority to the underlying issue of proper identification beyond a resonable doubt for conviction under a criminal statute. The difficulty of “proving” beyond a reasonable doubt that a dog is in fact, a “pitbull” (which is a generic term and not an actual breed) or even a pitbull “mix” was  also again tested, this time in Miami Dade county Florida 2010.


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