Youngstown Bans “Pit Bulls”

Youngstown Ohio has banned pit bulls and pit bull mixes effective September 15, 2007. Any pit bulls or mixes in the city as of that date may stay as long as they are registered and their owners obtain $100,000 in liability insurance to cover any injuries or damages they cause. And when in public the dogs must be muzzled and on a leash no longer than 4 feet.  Generally, current owners of pits or pit mixes must comply with state laws regulating pits as vicious dogs.

Check Animal Law Coalition’s Laws for a copy of Ohio’s dangerous and vicious dog laws.

The vote by the Youngstown City Council was unanimous in favor of the ban. Council members generally cited an increase in dog fighting and attacks and bites as a reason for the ban. It probably didn’t hurt that with little analysis, the Ohio Supreme Court recently upheld laws defining pit bulls as vicious. For more on that opinion, click here.   Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Breed Discrimination

It’s open season on pit bull type dogs in Ohio. And in Youngstown "pit bull terrier" was not really defined. It could mean many different breeds depending on who is deciding whether a particular dog should be banned or restricted.

Contact Youngstown City Council members and urge them to repeal this breed ban. Dogs don’t bite or attack because of their breed.

Richard W. Atkinson 3rd Ward



Terri D. Dawson



Artis Gillam, Sr 1st Ward



Rufus G. Hudson 2nd Ward



Claire Maluso



Faith O’Nesti



Paul D. Pancoe 6th Ward



Charles Sammarone, President



Michael R. Rapovy 5th Ward



Carol Rimedio-Righetti 4th Ward



Mark S. Memmer 7th Ward



Tell the Council members there are better ways to make Youngstown safe:

  • Ø Pass a dangerous dog law that recognizes any dog, regardless of breed, is potentially dangerous or dangerous if it has demonstrated aggressive behavior. The dangerous dog law should recognize there may be different levels of aggressive behavior; the point is to protect the public by encouraging owners to take action to control and manage their dogs through training and pet owner responsibility classes before the behavior reaches the next level.
  • Ø Pass strictly enforced leash or at large laws.
  • Ø Pass laws that restrict the tethering, chaining and penning or caging of dogs. Dogs that are chained are 2.8 times more likely to be aggressive.
  • Ø Encourage spay/neuter and provide low cost spay/neuter in your community. More than 90% of fatal dog attacks are by dogs that are not spayed or neutered and research cited in a 2000 Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association  study indicated unsterilized dogs are 2.6 times more likely to bite. .
  • Ø Encourage responsible dog ownership. Dogs should be part of the family. 81% of fatal dog attacks are by dogs that were isolated or not part of the family.
  • Ø Strengthen dog fighting laws and ban breeding and training of dogs for aggression. Make animal neglect and cruelty laws more specific and easier to enforce with tougher penalties. Breeders should be registered and licensed. 61% of fatal dog attacks are by dogs that were not humanely controlled, or had in some way been abused or neglected.