A mother from Ft. Thomas stood with her young son before the Dayton City Council on Tuesday night and talked about the time he was attacked by a dog, forcing a visit to the hospital.
The culprit? An unattended golden retriever.
Tammy Nolan's point was that all dogs may bite and that owners should be more responsible. She was among a group of people who spoke in support of repealing the city's ban on pit bulls. In April, two dogs were taken from a Dayton man's home for allegedly violating the ordinance.
"I don't have an ordinance that bans golden retrievers. I do have one that bans pit bulls," Mayor Virgil Boruske told Nolan. "The council has the control to change this ordinance. As far as I'm concerned, as long as it is in effect, I'm going to have to enforce this ordinance."
Boruske is a supporter of the pit bull ban in Dayton and voted for its implementation nearly ten years ago. Dayton was among the last cities in the region to adopt a pit bull ban. When surrounding communities adopted their bans, Dayton was "flooded with pit bulls", Councilman Joe Neary explained, prompting the city council's action.
Nolan contended that there were no records of pit bull attacks in Dayton.
"Obviously we're not going to have pit bull bites because they are not allowed in the town," Police Chief David Halfhill said.
Robert Wade, whose dogs were taken last month, said, "There are twenty pit bulls in the town."
"Well, if you give me a list, sir, I'll be happy to take them," the mayor said.
"That's not my job, sir," Wade replied.
Chris Morgan, a friend of Wade's and a resident Erlanger, said that he is currently in possession of the dogs, one of which, they say, is not a pit bull at all. The dog with pit bull in her is also deaf. "It's been a lot of fun for me to have her because she has a disability but I've learned to work with that," Morgan said. "If you step foot in my house, it will lick you to death. The one you have to worry about is my weiner dog. The pit bull, she'll walk away from you."
Wade also painted a cuddly picture of his banned pets, saying that they are a comfort to his disabled niece and nephew.
An online petition urging the city council to reverse its ordinance has garnered more than 4,000 signatures, though organizer Lisa Rittenhouse admits that most of those supporters are from outside the area. However, Rittenhouse has formed a new group called Together Assisting Innocent Lives, or TAIL, to fight to change the pit bull law and she said Tuesday that the group has hired legal counsel.
"I know everyone is excited about the riverfront development, but are they aware of the pit bull ban? Anyone coming in a boat or living down by the river, you can't bring them in," Rittenhouse said. "I propose that Robert Wade be allowed to bring his dogs home immediately and that we work on new laws that will be less complicated. You can't just say it's pit bulls. There are other dogs that bite and they are not removed from the home. Persecute the owners."
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News