21 Aug 2014
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Committee Votes to Keep 'Dangerous Dog' Registration Fee

Lakewood City Council’s public safety committee votes down changes to the 2008 dangerous dog ordinance.

Committee Votes to Keep 'Dangerous Dog' Registration Fee

A proposed measure in Lakewood City Council that would have dropped the registration fee for “dangerous dogs” had more bark than bite. 

The proposed measure sought to eliminate a portion of the 2008 ordinance requiring owners of dogs deemed “dangerous” pay a $50 registration fee each year.

The issue didn’t make it out of council’s public safety committee, where it was voted down, 2-1.

The measure, introduced by Ward 2 councilman Tom Bullock, sought to  “eliminate the fees associated with the annual renewal of registrations of dangerous animals.”

“We had a very full discussion,” said Ryan Nowlin, the public safety committee chairman, who voted against the measure. “I was not interested in revisiting this law.”

“I was uncomfortable with the fact that there hadn’t been a change in circumstances in the ordinance that was originally put forward.”

The fee was included in the 2008 ordinance to cover the city’s initial cost of registration — including verifying that dogs were insured and had microchips implanted in them. 

“However, registration for subsequent years is less work-intensive,” Bullock said in the fall, adding that most of the work now consists of filling out a renewal form. 

“Given that our rationale for collecting fees is not punitive but rather to compensate the city for expenses incurred, the attached ordinance proposes to adjust the fee to zero for registration of dangerous dogs in subsequent years after the initial registration.”

Council heard the committee report, but did not vote on the registration fee issue.

The statehouse voted earlier this year to repeal the breed-specific language in the Ohio Revised Code, declassifying pit bulls as “vicious animals” at the state level.

However, it does not apply to local municipalities.

Under the new state law, a dog can be labeled vicious only if it kills or causes serious harm to a person while unprovoked. However, Kevin Butler, the city of Lakewood's law director, told Lakewood Patch earlier this year that Lakewood’s ban would stand.

Lakewood Patch readers overwhelmingly voted earlier this year that the city should end the ban. Take our poll, and let us know what you think in the comments.

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