Dog owners face deadline to register
Thursday, August 07, 2008
By Julie Kreuz jkreuz@...
Lakewood Sun Post
A deadline was set for residents to register their pit bulls and canary dogs.
Letters were sent out Friday to notify Lakewood residents who owned pit bulls and canary dogs that they had until Oct. 19 to register or get rid of the animals.
City Council passed a law at the July 21 council meeting to ban pit bulls and canary dogs, which are defined as "dangerous dogs" in the law, from Lakewood.
To register a pit bull or canary dog with the city, owners must have the dog micro-chipped, maintain proof of the dog being spayed or neutered and pay an annual registration fee of $50. Ohio law requires dangerous dogs to be kept muzzled when in public and restrained by a chain leash. Owners must also keep a $100,000 insurance policy for the dog and build a 6-foot enclosed pen in their back yard or keep the dog tethered on a 6-foot leash.
If the dogs are not registered in Lakewood during the 90-day period they will be ordered out of the city, said Elaine Hearn, animal control coordinator for the Lakewood Animal Control Shelter.
"If we actually have them already in our system as owning a dangerous animal, and if they do not come forward to register, then we would go to their home to check if the dog was still there and they would be ticketed and the dog would be ordered out of the city (if it was)," she said.
"We have no plans on seizing pit bulls as of right now," Hearn said.
The shelter, which can hold up to seven dogs, does not accept any dogs surrendered by owners, and the county shelter does not accept animals if there are owners identified,
The responsibility to remove the dog from Lakewood would be on the owner, she said.
What to do with the dog if an owner did not comply would be determined by a judge after a hearing on the failure to register the dog, she said, "We'll cross that bridge whenever we come to it." Any stray pit bulls found would be turned over to the county kennel, she said.
There is no charge to Lakewood for sending the dogs to the county shelter, Hearn said.
The only time a dog may be euthanized will be after a vicious dog hearing, or if the animal was too severely injured, she said.
"I kind of knew they were going to do it. I was kind of surprised considering they wanted to create this community advisory board, though, because, why would they do this ban then?" said Melissa Linkermann, resident of Lakewood and owner of All Dogs' Heaven, a nonprofit dog rescue group.
At the council meeting July 21 council passed the ban and moved to create an Animal Safety and Welfare Advisory Board. The group would help the city to create "best practices" dog safety policy, said Tom Bullock, Ward 2 councilman, at the meeting.
"Frankly, I am discouraged that council, even after being presented with the overwhelming historical data that bans are ineffective, chose to pass it," said Lakewood resident Juleen Russell, president of the Berea Animal Rescue Fund board of directors.
"I sincerely hope the city of Lakewood has a plan in place to regularly analyze the results of its new ban; its costs, ease of enforcement, and its effects on our overall complaints and bites," said Russell.
Linkermann said she will have to move her rescue out of Lakewood, "My rescue's All Dogs' Heaven, not All Dogs', asterisk, this dog, this dog, this dog excluded." She said she may partner with A New Leash on Life.
Russell said the law should hold a larger meaning for Lakewood residents, "regardless if you even like dogs or not, you should care, because at its root -- this is a civil liberty concern."
http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2008/08 ... egist.html
Lakewood pit bulls must be registered by Oct. 19
August 07, 2008 08:47AM
UPDATE: Lakewood officials issued a news release this afternoon that says its previous one may be wrong. The Oct. 19 deadline may not be accurate. The city's Law Department is reviewing the ordinance to determine if residents have more or less time to register their dogs.
Bless the Bullys