dangerous dogs

MANSFIELD -- Dangerous dogs has long been an issue in Mansfield and Richland County. It became a hot-button topic again at the most recent Mansfield City Council meeting last month.

Both the city and county have grappled with how to not only legislate but enforce laws already on the books about dogs, and even the definition of vicious canines.

State law defines "vicious," "dangerous" and "nuisance" dogs without regard to breed. Whereas Mansfield has breed-specific legislation, prohibiting the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, and any mixed breed of dog containing the aforementioned breeds in city limits because of their classification as "vicious" dogs.

But after the Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals ruling, the city has temporarily lifted its pit bull ban, according to Law Director John Spon. He told the Mansfield Police Department to stop enforcing the city’s pit bull ban last month.

"The Fifth District Court held that a ban cannot be upheld -- it did not address an issue of whether or not a city retains home rule powers to have breed-specific legislation. That issue has never been decided by the court of appeals, " Spon said.

We asked our members to weigh in on this issue while noting some of the comments shared at the most recent Mansfield City Council meeting.

Below is a sampling of those thoughts:

"It's not a dog issue. The issue is responsible owners." -- Jack Bargahiser.

"If I am not mistaken, there is a law already on the books that does not allow for dogs to roam freely and have to be restrained when outside of the home. Larger fines for violations would (or should) cause individuals to make sure their pet is restrained. Larger fines would also help fund the cost for an animal control officer." -- Ed Pickens.

"Right now, the dog warden is already supposed to enforce state law in the city of Mansfield. He doesn't do it. What good does it do to pass a bill that there's no intention of enforcing?" -- Mary Mount.

"We just want to let the community know that going ahead with state law will not lessen any of the protection -- people will be safe. We want to assure you that by lifting the breed-specific (legislation), all breeds will be dealt with, and if they are vicious or dangerous, then they will be dealt with, regardless of what breed. And I can assure you that any breed can do damage. You just never know with any dog." -- Linda Swisher, Board Member, Humane Society of Richland County.

Question for next month:

Tourism is a big part of the landscape in north central Ohio. From skiing at Snow Trails to canoeing, camping, hiking, bking and horseback riding at Mohican to racing at Mid-Ohio and Mansfield Motor Speedway, the various activities at Malabar Farm, Kingwood Center Gardens, Oak Hill Cottage and the Ohio State Reformatory, and numerous events at Ohio Dreams near Butler.

What's the one thing you wish visitors knew about north central Ohio that they don't?

What's the one thing they associate with north central Ohio that you wish they didn't?

Send your thoughts to Jasmine Evans at Jasmine@richlandsource.com.

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I've lived in Richland Co. since 1990, married here, our children were born here. This is home. I have two books published on a passion topic, Ohio high school football. Others: Buckeyes, Cavs, Bengals, Reds, History, Disney.