Mount Gilead Village Council June 16, 2014
A reconsideration of a 20 year old ordinance was the topic of debate by Mount Gilead Village Council at their June 16, 2014 meeting.
A resident of the Village asked the council to consider rescinding ordinance 505.14 banning pit bull terriers from the village limits. The ordinance is from the 1980’s. She noted that the Morrow County Dog Shelter is often full to capacity and many of the dogs at the shelter are pit bull terriers. She said that there are responsible dog owners willing to adopt or foster these animals but they cannot, due to the village ordinance. She explained that both Federal Law and State Law have removed pit bulls from the dangerous animal law.
Attorney Andrew Wick supplied packets of information with studies from the American Humane Society, Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA and The American Veterinary Medical Association, citing breed specific legislation is not effective and stated that, “it is actually cost prohibitive and there are better ways and means of handling the risk, which is mentioned in the breed specific legislation itself.”
Laura Wick shared that she and her husband Andrew own two pit bull mixes, one a Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix, which is named specifically in the villages breed specific ordinance, adding that they do NOT reside within the village limits, and they own an American Pit Bull Terrier which is not named in the ordinance. She stated that the dog that is mentioned in the ordinance weighs about 30 pounds and is “a cuddle baby” which is “pretty typical of a Staffordshire Terrier.” She noted that she is a timid dog that hides when she hears a noise. She explained that dogs will react according to how they are raised.
Council member Emily Shaffer asked Chief Zerman if any tickets have ever been issued based on this ordinance. Zerman replied, “In the 20 years I have been here, there has been one.”
It was shared that there has been a recent ticket for this ordinance, to which Zerman replied, “That is the one.”
Council member John Curtis asked about a Columbus community that is currently looking at rescinding this legislation, to which Mrs. Wick replied yes, I do not recall which community that has already rescinded their ordinance.” “They focused instead on legislation that address vicious animal legislation that is not breed specific but deals with past behaviors and responsible owner laws.”
Attorney Wick shared that the recommendation is stricter compliance with other regulations, licensing laws, leash laws, fighting laws, tethering laws and sterilization. “This is not something we have on the books currently.” said Wick.
He noted that the Dog Warden does a great job of requiring dogs adopted through her to be spayed or neutered if they have not been so already.
The village solicitor Matt Griffith added that the ordinance, as currently written, “Is very difficult for us to enforce, so if council did want to revisit that, it would not hurt my feelings at all.” The issue was sent to codes and regulations for discussion.
Council member Ed Kline mentioned that he was on council when the legislation went through originally and he said that it was the result of an issue, “with one family…that is the reason it was put on.” He asked if the Wick’s homeowners insurance was higher because of their dogs, to which Mr. Wick responded “No, it is not, because of the Ohio BSL being rescinded they are no longer able to do so. They rely more now on the strict enforcement of the dangerous animal laws.”
Fire Chief Greg Young reported 11 calls since the last council meeting, one false alarm, five motor vehicle accidents, 2 mutual aide calls, one of which was to the Sawmill fire on Franklin Township Road 219, one controlled burn that wasn’t called in to the fire department, one assist to the police department, and a vehicle fire.
A motion was approved to change the light system on High Street in front of Kroger and McDonald’s to assist in the flow of traffic in that area.
A motion was approved to use Thompson painting for the firehouse roof.
Council passed the following motions to adopt:
Resolution 6-126-14 Real Estate Tax Assessment-Blight, Resolutions 6-16-14A-Brownfield Grant, Resolution 6-16-14B- Bulletproof Vest grant, Resolution 6-16-14C, MCF Contract Approval, Resolution 6-1-14D.
Village Clerk Sue Merman noted that the Newark Plain Dealer did an investigative story on records request. They reported that the Village was one of the entities that turned over records immediately.
Village Council met only once in the month of July on July 21 at 7pm.
The next Village Council meeting will be August 18 at 7 pm.