Findlay, Ohio


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Anneke Kurt
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Toledo, Ohio dog bite attorney voices opposition to Ohio bill

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Attorney Dale Emch testified recently in front of the Ohio House Infrastructure, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs committee to oppose HB 366, which would declassify pit bulls as vicious dogs.

As a Toledo, Ohio dog bite attorney, Dale Emch has seen the extensive damage pit bulls can cause in the blink of an eye. Injuries to his clients led him to speak out against a bill that’s being offered in the Ohio General Assembly that would strip pit bulls out of the state’s vicious dog law. A copy of his testimony about his Ohio dog bite victims is available online if you’re interested.

Here’s an excerpt of Dale’s testimony:

I’m here today as an attorney who has dealt with the types of injuries pit bulls can cause in just a matter of seconds. In our Toledo law office, nine of the 23 dog bite cases we’re handling involve pit bulls. That’s 39 percent, which strikes me as being disproportionately high when you consider how many different breeds of dogs there are in our state. I recognize this is a such a small sampling that it is statistically meaningless in the broader context of this discussion, but it gives you at least a glimpse of what we’re seeing. I’ll leave it to Mr. Skeldon and his colleagues to provide the statistical information this committee needs to evaluate whether pit bulls should remain labeled as vicious dogs.

I’d like to provide you with some evidence of just how much damage these dogs can do. In the three cases I’ll discuss, it’s worth noting that none of the attacks were provoked, nor is there any evidence that these dogs were trained to fight or that they were owned by gang members. Something tripped their switch and they attacked.

Ohio law labels pit bulls as vicious dogs and requires that owners confine them in ways that would minimize the risk of them injuring people. It also requires pit bull owners to maintain a certain level of insurance in case their dog does cause an injury. The law is not overly burdensome and its requirements offer common sense measures designed to protect the public.

Removing the vicious dog label would restrict a valuable enforcement tool that Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon and other law enforcement officials throughout the state have to control pit bull ownership. Mr. Skeldon and a group of other concerned dog wardens and police officers are leading the charge against HB 366.

Dale urges you to contact Steve Reinard, chairman of the Infrastructure, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs committee, as well as other members, to voice your opposition to HB 366.