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Pit Bull Adoption Information
The Stark County Dog Warden, Reagan Tetreault, has given permission for Pit Bull dogs to be adopted from the Stark County Dog Pound. All Ohio pit bull laws will apply to these adoptions. Before adopting a Pit Bull dog understand that owning a Pit Bull is a privilege, not a right and with this privilege comes much responsibility.
Years ago, the Pit Bull breeds were some of the most loved groups of dogs in America. These All-American dogs were known to be loyal, strong and courageous. However, their enslavement and misuse by cowardly criminal thugs has caused some states and communities to lump all pit bull types together and classify them as ‘a vicious breed of dog.’ Friends of the Pound has gathered and posted important information to help educate potential owners before they make the final decision to bring a Pit Bull into their homes. Please take the time to read and understand what your legal responsibilities will include if you become a Pit Bull owner in the state of Ohio.
The Reality of Owning a Pit Bull
Excerpts from the Ohio Revised Code
Chapter 955. Dogs
What is a Pit Bull?
Ohio Revised Code Section 955.11 (A)(4)(a)(iii) Defines a “breed of dog commonly known as a pit bull” as a vicious dog. For enforcement purposes, the term “a breed of dog commonly known as a pit bull” refers to any of the following:
• An American Pit Bull Terrier
• A Staffordshire Bull Terrier
• An American Staffordshire Terrier
Any other purebred or mixed breed dog whose appearance and physical characteristics is predominately those of any of the dogs listed above, or is a combination of any of the dogs listed above.
Confining Pit Bull Dogs
(Ohio Revised Code Section 955.22 D) Dogs that are a “breed of dog commonly known as a Pit Bull” must be confined on the owner's property by means of a locked fenced yard, a locked dog pen that has a top, or some other locked enclosure that has a top (such as a house).
This law applies not only to pure bred American Pit Bull dogs, but also to other pure bred and mixed breed dogs that have similar physical and/or behavioral characteristics. Animal Control Officers make the determination as to whether or not a dog is a “breed of dog commonly known as a Pit Bull.”
The maximum penalty for a violation of this section on a first offense is a $1,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment. If the dog seriously injures a person, or this is a second offense of this section, the charge may be filed as a felony.
Insuring Pit Bull Dogs
Dogs that are a breed of dog commonly known as a Pit Bull are automatically considered to be vicious under Ohio law.
(Ohio Revised Code Section 955.22 E) No owner, keeper, or harborer of a vicious dog shall fail to obtain liability insurance with an insurer authorized to write liability insurance in this state providing coverage in each occurrence, subject to a limit, exclusive of interest and costs, of not less than one hundred thousand dollars because of damage or bodily injury to or death of a person caused by the vicious dog.
The maximum penalty for a violation of this section is a $1,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment.
(Ohio Revised Code 955.22) Excerpt
Confining, restraining, debarking dogs
(Ohio Revised Code Section 955.22) (C) Except when a dog is lawfully engaged in hunting and accompanied by the owner, keeper, harborer, or handler of the dog, no owner, keeper, or harborer of any dog shall fail at any time to do either of the following: (1) Keep the dog physically confined or restrained upon the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer by a leash, tether, adequate fence, supervision, or secure enclosure to prevent escape; (2) Keep the dog under the reasonable control of some person.
(D) Except when a dangerous or vicious dog is lawfully engaged in hunting or training for the purpose of hunting and is accompanied by the owner, keeper, harborer, or handler of the dog, no owner, keeper, or harborer of a dangerous or vicious dog shall fail to do either of the following: (1) While that dog is on the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer, securely confine it at all times in a locked pen that has a top, locked fenced yard, or other locked enclosure that has a top, except that a dangerous dog may, in the alternative, be tied with a leash or tether so that the dog is adequately restrained; (2) While that dog is off the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer, keep that dog on a chain-link leash or tether that is not more than six feet in length and additionally do at least one of the following: (a) Keep that dog in a locked pen that has a top, locked fenced yard, or other locked enclosure that has a top; (b) Have the leash or tether controlled by a person who is of suitable age and discretion or securely attach, tie, or affix the leash or tether to the ground or a stationary object or fixture so that the dog is adequately restrained and station such a person in close enough proximity to that dog so as to prevent it from causing injury to any person; (c) Muzzle that dog.
(F) No person shall do any of the following: (1) Debark or surgically silence a dog that the person knows or has reason to believe is a vicious dog; (2) Possess a vicious dog if the person knows or has reason to believe that the dog has been debarked or surgically silenced; (3) Falsely attest on a waiver form provided by the veterinarian under division
(G) of this section that the person’s dog is not a vicious dog or otherwise provide false information on that written waiver form.