Avon Lake proposing tougher measures to prevent dog attacks

Avon Lake proposing tougher measures to prevent dog attacks

AVON LAKE, OH (WOIO) - Avon Lake is getting tougher on dog attacks. Two small dogs died in attacks by pit bulls in about six weeks.

The Avon Lake City Council just drafted a law that would allow police to seize dogs involved in attacks. They unveiled the draft at a meeting Monday night.

Dog owners and families who attended the meeting said they just want to feel safe in their own neighborhoods again.

Johnna Lyman owned Daisy, a corgi-beagle mix.

She says the pit bull who got off of a leash and attacked and killed Daisy in their own yard is still living down the street.

"Something has to be done, our neighborhoods can't be unsafe like this," Lyman said.

In the past weeks, many neighbors have been rallying to change as the city's vicious dog ordinance.

"We take it a day by day. Everyone's been very supportive, kind words," Lyman said.

It's been one week since two pit bulls got out of the gate as Perry Pascarella walked his dog Bella, a Shih-Tzu, through his neighborhood.

Pascarella tried to break up the fight, but his dog didn't make it. His hand got torn up in the process.

"It hurts from time to time, but I'm hoping to take the bandage off tomorrow," he said.

The draft released by the Avon Lake City Council includes changes to the dog ordinance that would apply to dog attacks to humans or other animals.

It would increase penalties for dog owners up to six months in jail or anywhere from $250 - $1,000 fine if they're found guilty.

The dog would also automatically be labeled a vicious or nuisance dog depending on the case.

A judge could also order the dog to be put down.

Lyman said her fight to change the ordinance is not targeting pit bulls.

"I don't think it needs to be a breed-specific thing, I think it needs to be an individual basis," Lyman said. "They missed a lot of details and it fell through the cracks and now it's a neighborhood issue. And it's unfair to everyone."

Some council members want to discuss more ways to prevent dog attacks. They said the changes seemed mostly reactive to the problem.

One council member even brought up banning pit bulls, something some other cities have done.

Avon Lake's legal team will revisit the issue on Wednesday. But right now the draft to change the ordinance concerns all dog breeds, not just pit bulls.

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