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Trying to find consensus on pitbull legislation in Cincy

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley is expected to hold a meeting soon to reach consensus on two proposed motions to deal with pitbulls and other vicious dogs in the city.  There were a couple of pitbull attacks in the city this summer including one involving a young child

Pleasant Ridge resident Jim Tomaszewski said something must be done.  He said there is very little the city can do to prosecute the owner of the dog who attacked the child.

“Other than to cite him with a leash law violation, and that makes me sick, because this person needs to be charged as if he had done that to that girl with a knife, a gun or a car,” Tomaszewski told city council’s law and public safety committee Tuesday.  “We have to somehow take seriously holding these people criminally accountable for when they behave irresponsibly, intentionally or not, with their animals.”

One problem is the city’s inability to create an ordinance that establishes a felony offense.  The city can only cite for misdemeanor crimes.  Council Member Kevin Flynn said people often ignore those laws.  He said it is not the dogs that are the problem.

“It’s the person using the dog in an illegal activity protecting drugs whatever it might be and that’s assault with a deadly weapon,” Flynn said.  “We just need to work with our state legislators to encourage that.”

One proposed ordinance would set up a permanent vicious dog task force and also require owners to register their dogs with the city. 

The other proposal would put city laws in line with state code and also enhance the penalties for a first time dog bite if it causes harm as defined by law. 

At one time Cincinnati had a ban on pitbulls, but it was repealed a couple of years ago.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.