PARMA, OH (WOIO) - A group of dog lovers in one city is hoping to change the minds of city council members about a decades-old law.
The city of Parma currently has a pit bull ban. People who choose to own a pit bull within city limits could be charged with a misdemeanor crime.
Now, a group of dog advocates is demanding city council members throw out the ban that’s more than 30 years old. This is the third meeting the group has attended to share concerns over the ordinance.
Nicole Masters owns a bully mix that she says is her baby.
“He’s just the happiest thing I’ve ever had. He just licks me all the time," she said.
She and dozens of other dog advocates are speaking up in communities that have pit bull bans.
“If we have the ability to look at people and not judge them on the way they look, I think we should do the same for dogs,” one woman said to city council members.
According to the city of Parma, in 2016 there were 30 dog bites reported to animal control officers. Seven pit bulls were removed from the city.
In 2017, there were 36 dog bites reported to animal control and nine pit bulls removed from the city.
City leaders say they want to leave the decision up to Parma residents, and council has no plans to throw out the current laws.
“We believe if they would like to change the ordinance, the appropriate way to do that would be to circulate petitions to people in the city of Parma and put it on the ballot,” said Parma’s Public Safety Director, Thomas Weinreich
But some Parma pet owners disagree and said city council members should be the ones changing the laws.
In March, the group successfully overturned a similar ordinance in Lakewood.
There are 21 cities in Ohio that have outright pit bull bans. In Northeast Ohio, those include Warrensville Heights, Garfield Heights and Parma.