Ashtabula is still the pits with some dog owners.
City Council failed by a 4-3 vote to repeal an ordinance which outlaws pit bulls. As a result, the measure must go at least one more meeting, taking it to Aug. 20.
Council Clerk LaVette Hennigan said under the city charter, “it will had to have five votes to pass (Monday night).”
If the old law is repealed, council can then pass the new legislation allowing pit bulls under certain circumstances.
Council President J.P. Ducro, Vice President Chris McClure and Ward 2 Councilman August Pugliese were the no votes.
Proponents of new legislation want city residents to be able to own or keep pit bulls if the dog is adopted from the Ashtabula County Animal Protective League, and has been determined by that organization to be neither people-aggressive nor animal aggressive.
“The (new) legislation is based on discussions with Irene Fiala, (vice president of the Animal Protective League board of directors),” City Solicitor Michael Franklin said.
Ducro said he has a problem with telling residents what breed of dog they can own.
Pugliese said pit bulls have a violent history.
“They killed bulls,” he said. “That’s how they got their name.”
Ward 1 Councilman Rick Balog, who is head of council’s safety forces committee, said he believes the new legislation is a good compromise between the city and those interested in removing the breed-specific language from the current ordinance.
Ward 5 Councilman James Trisket asked for the ordinance at the July 16 meeting, and Ward 4 Councilwoman Julie Lattimer seconded the motion.
Trisket said it was time to move forward.
Pugliese asked about the possibility of putting the issue to a vote of the people.
Franklin said it could.
The new legislation, if it passes Aug. 20, will more broadly define a vicious dog as “any dog with a propensity, tendency or disposition to attack, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or other domestic animals.”
The proposed legislation also describes a vicious dog as “any dog which attacks a human being or another domestic animal one or more times without provocation.”
Pit bulls would still be banned from the city, unless the pit bull is adopted from the APL and has been determined to be a non-aggressive canine.