Ohio removes pit bulls from 'vicious' dogs list

Ohio state law labeled specific breeds, such as pit bulls, as 'vicious.' Now the law defines a dangerous dog based on behavior not breed.

AP Photo/The Indianapolis Star, Michelle Pemberton
Zeus, a three year old pit bull lab mix gets some time outside in the dog run of Animal Care and Control in Indianapolis. (

 Pit bulls will no longer be labeled as "vicious" dogs under a new Ohio law.

The measure that took effect Tuesday changes current law that defines a vicious dog as one that has seriously hurt or killed a person, killed another dog or is among those commonly known as pit bulls. The new measure removes the reference to pit bulls from the definition and requires evidence to prove pit bulls are actually vicious.

Ohio has been the only state to classify a dog as "vicious" by breed and appearance, according to Newsnet5.com in Ohio.

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Supporters of the law claim it will improve the ability of dog wardens and police to protect the public from all dangerous dogs, regardless of their breed. 

While the state labeling of dangerous dogs by breed has been lifted, some Ohio communities continue to have bans on pit bull ownership.

Gov. John Kasich signed the state measure in February.

Some dog wardens opposed it because of frequent pit bull attacks. Others have said pit bulls are not inherently vicious.

The measure takes effect less than a week after a 3-day-old baby was killed in northwest Ohio by what a dog warden described as a pit bull mix.

It also comes two days after a 49-year-old woman was attacked by a pack of stray dogs at her trailer park near Georgetown in north Mobile County, Alabama.

Mobile County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Joe Mahoney tells the Press-Register  the unidentified woman was taken to a local hospital for facial and body lacerations.

The Sunday morning attack involved a pack of five dogs that had occasionally been fed by other residents of the trailer park, according to Mahoney. He said trailer park residents told deputies the dogs appeared to be docile in the past.

Mobile County Animal Control officers took the dogs and they are in the county animal shelter, Mahoney said. He described them as mixed-breed pit bull and chow dogs.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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