After two vicious pit bull attacks on local girls this summer, city council member Chris Seelbach is proposing a new law that even a pit bull owner likes.
Your dog bites someone, you go to jail.
Seelbach’s proposal would penalize irresponsible owners of potentially “vicious dogs” and not target or outlaw dogs by breed.
That sounds good to Katy Blanton of Cheviot, co-founder of Cincinnati Pit Crew , a group dedicated to pit bulls.
Blanton said she loves her pit bull, named King, and wouldn’t think twice about taking him out in public.
“He’s good with other people and other dogs, but I’ve been a responsible owner and taken the steps necessary to make sure he’s a safe member of society,” Blanton said Monday.
“I think this kind of legislation helps. It really helps that city council is recognizing that this is not a breed specific issue and it’s an irresponsible ownership issue.”
Seelbach is proposing up to six months in jail for an owner whose dog hurts someone.
Seelbach referred to the tragic case of 6-year-old Zainabou Drame, nearly killed by two pit bulls in Westwood last month. Police said the dog owner was using them to protect his drug operation .
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Yet, the owner got a $150 fine – the stiffest penalty allowed under the law.
“This person was using these dogs, had trained them to be vicious, and when they came in contact with the girl in the street the dogs almost killed the girl. We should hold that owner responsible for using these dogs as protection of his criminal activity,” Seelbach said.
“Right now, it’s a free pass.
“I say no more free passes.”
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Seelbach said he started looking for a solution when Cincinnati lifted its ban on pit bulls two years ago.
He believes treating all dogs and owners equally will give better protection.
“There’s nothing that’s going to prevent every dog bite from ever occurring, but I think (after) talking to prosecutors, the SPCA, people that are experts in the field that this will help prevent and decrease the number of dog bites,” Seelbach said.
Seelbach will present his idea to council next week.
Meanwhile, Zainabou’s grandfather is really excited about her progress. Doctors have called her recovery “a miracle,” he told WCPO Monday.
She will get out of the hospital Aug. 6, he said.
Zainabou can’t talk – the dogs nearly ripped out her tongue – but otherwise she acts like a normal 6-year-old. She will require additional surgeries in the future, he said.