Many think suburban dog law needs to be tougher

Many think suburban dog law needs to be tougher

AVON LAKE, OH (WOIO) - Dozens of residents are pushing for tougher laws in Avon Lake when it comes to dog-on-dog attacks.

The sentiment was prompted by the death of one family's pet.

Right now a neighborhood on Orchard Park Drive is torn apart over the dog attack.

Many neighbors don't feel safe with the pit bull that attacked a small dog still around. Others are defending it.

Now the debate is in the city's hands.

A few weeks ago Rebecca Lyman was out in her yard in Avon Lake with her corgi-beagle mix Daisy when her neighbor walked by with her pit bull.

"I saw Kim struggling to control the dog, then the dog got loose and attacked Daisy," Lyman said.

Cyrus the pit bull slipped out of his harness and into Lyman's yard. Neighbors ran over to help.

"I heard some commotion, some lady screaming and crying and some dogs growling, fighting with each other," said Gino Costanzo, who tried to break up the fight.

"The dog was very strong, very violent," Costanzo said.

"It was very dramatic. I ran in and called 911 while neighbors got the dog off my dog," Lyman said.

After the attack, she comforted Daisy on her porch. The dog's chest and stomach were punctured. Blood was everywhere.

Neighbors and the pit bull's owner were scraped up.

Both dogs were hurt and Daisy had to be put down.

"Seeing my daughter, the look in her face, and Daisy, the look on her face, really was hard to shake. I haven't been able to shake it yet," said Johnna Lyman, Rebecca's mom.

The Lyman family went to a city council public safety meeting Monday night to ask for tougher dog laws.

Dozens of neighbors came to speak up on behalf of the Lymans. They want the pit bull out of their neighborhood. Some don't feel safe letting their children play outside.

But not all of the neighbors feel that Cyrus is a threat.

"I really don't think it's necessary to put his dog down. I think it was an accident. I'm comfortable being around the dog, it seems like a big baby in my opinion. It is a nice lovable dog," said Curtis Fratianne, who lives across the street from the pit bull owners.

Cyrus's owner says he's a rescue dog just like Daisy. He says they got him from the humane society.

"He's never had any problem with other dogs, with homeowners. He's never had a problem anywhere," said Earl Hall.

He says neighbors are spreading bad things about Cyrus without ever meeting him.

Hall says Kimberly Larson, Cyrus's other owner, was also hurt in the attack.

"They didn't ask how she's doing with 35 stitches from their dog. Their dog wasn't on a leash, didn't have an invisible thing around its neck," Hall said.

The pit bull owners were fined $150.

"No matter what the breed, owners need to be able to control their dog. And it's not just Daisy. It could happen to any dog. Unfortunately, it happened to be her," Rebecca Lyman said.

The city repealed its vicious dog ordinance three years ago to line up with the state law.

Now officials are considering other measures for dog-on-dog attacks.

At Monday's meeting, council members decided to have the police chief and city attorney look at some options.

Council member Jennifer Fenderbosch brought up some ideas like banning retractable leashes for dog walking, which she says lead to more accidents.

She would also like to see any dogs who have attacked other dogs be held in a pen if they are outside or wear a muzzle if they are brought on a dog walk.

The city council plans to discuss their options again in August.

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