Lakewood officials say PETA supports pit bull-specific legislation due to risks

Updated: Jan. 9, 2018 at 7:21 PM EST
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LAKEWOOD, OH (WOIO) - The city of Lakewood announced Tuesday that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) supports pit bull-specific laws and regulations in order to protect pit bulls, other companion animals and the community at large.

PETA's Animal Care and Control Issues Manager Teresa Lynn Chagrin sent an email on Jan. 8 to Mayor Michael Summers and the Lakewood City Council advocating for pit bull-specific regulations, citing a 15-year medical study by a team of trauma surgeons in San Antonio's University of Texas Health Sciences Center, according to the city.

"This is the first time we have heard a balanced approach from an animal expert when answering the public safety question about pit bulls," Summers said in a prepared statement.

The study, which was published in the Annals of Surgery, found that attacks by pit bulls were associated with higher risk of death, caused more serious injuries and were more likely to require hospitalization.

Following a 15-year examination of national statistics, the authors reported:

  • One person is killed by a pit bull every 14 days
  • Two people are injured by pit bulls every day
  • One body part is severed and lost every 5.4 days as a result of pit bull attacks

"The safety of our community comes first," Summers said in a prepared statement. "I am determined to protect the safety of our residents. We have proposed legislation that would allow pit bulls in our city, while providing protections that avoid jeopardizing the safety of all of us. What we have further learned from PETA is these same regulations serve to protect pit bulls from abuse and irresponsible pet owners as well."

At the beginning of the month, Summers jointly introduced legislation to city council that strengthens dog control laws, adds requirements for responsible owners (mandatory spay and neuter, registration and leash control) and specific controls and regulations for pit bulls in place of the pit bull ban.

The proposed legislation was determined through investigations of laws adopted by cities throughout the nation, according to the city.

The controversy over the ban reached new heights this past summer when Lakewood resident Jennifer Scott was ordered to remove her pit bull mix, Charlie, from the city.

Scott has helped assemble a large group of supporters and activists who want to see the pit bull ban lifted.

She said at first she was elated to hear there would be changes to the law. But then she looked at it closer.

"I was shocked and sickened and saddened. It is still discrimination. It is in no way shape or form a way to treat well-behaved dogs," she said.

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