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Pit Bulls and Ohio’s “Dangerous Dog Statute”

Ohio is the only state in the union to have passed a breed-specific ban on the ownership of dogs. In the so-called “Dangerous Dog Statute”, lawmakers stated that a vicious dog included any dog that “Belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog. The ownership, keeping, or harboring of such a breed of dog shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping, or harboring of a vicious dog.” The statute was immediately controversial as it limits the ownership of pit bulls to one per household and requires owners of pit bulls to carry liability insurance to cover the animals, which many citizens contended violated their constitutional right to due process.

The purpose behind this statute was to ensure that the victims of dog attacks by vicious animals would be able to recover full compensation for their injuries. Those injured by dog attacks shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of dealing with the consequences by themselves. If you have been the victim of a dog attack, contact the Cincinnati personal injury attorneys of Stepleton Dugan, LLC today at 513-321-7733 to discuss how you can pursue compensation with an experienced legal professional.

Ohio Supreme Court Ruling

In Toledo v Tellings in 2006, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of this statute. After a health inspector checking for lead paint noted that the defendant owned three pit bull type dogs, he reported the animals to the Lucas County Dog Warden, resulting in one of the animals being re-homed and another being euthanized.

The defendant challenged that the two statues under which he had been charged were unconstitutional because they denied him his right to due process. The Ohio Supreme Court ultimately agreed, overturning the previous appellate court’s decision.

What It Means For You

The practical application of these rulings is that a dog can no longer be deemed ‘vicious’ simply for being of a specific breed. Evidence presented in the trial showed that breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, generally considered a kid-friendly breed, are just as likely to bite a person as a Pit Bull, if not more so. The lesson is to never consider a dog safe or dangerous based solely on the apparent breed of the animal, but to always approach strange dogs with caution.

Contact Us

Specific breeds may not be inherently more dangerous than others, but vicious dogs certainly do exist. If you or a loved one has been attacked or bitten by a dog, Ohio law protects your rights and you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills and damages. Call an experienced and knowledgeable Cincinnati personal injury lawyer of Stepleton Dugan, LLC today at 513-321-7733 to discuss the details of your case.

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Stepleton Dugan, LLC
6071 Montgomery Road
CincinnatiOH 45213
(513) 321-7733
Stepleton Dugan, LLC
6071 Montgomery Road
Cincinnati, OH 45213
(513) 321-7733

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