Changes could soon be coming to the way pit bulls are categorized in Ohio. Currently, the dogs are deemed vicious by the state.
On Wednesday, Ohio lawmakers approved
State Senate amendments to House Bill 14
"I think it's a good move. I think it allows us to treat all dogs equally based on their behavior and not there look,"
Chief Dog Warden of Lucas County Julie Lyle
Lyle is supporting the amendments to the law which have been sent to Governor John Kasich for his signature.
"I think they are just another dog. Again, any dog can bite. Lots of dogs can cause damageâ?¦it gives us the tools to keep the community safe from all dogs," Lyle added.
Ohio is the only state that labels pit bulls as vicious simply because they belong to the breed.
Those familiar with pit bulls say at times this classification has led to discrimination of animals that also look like pit bulls.
"Once this law takes effect, it will put us on equal footing with the rest of the states," Lyle said.
Under the new amendments, a dog could only be labeled vicious if they were not teased, abused or tormented before acting out.
Paul Johnson, Vice President of
, says that even though the State of Ohio may stop looking at the issue from a breed standpoint, insurance companies likely won't.
"I think they are going to continue to look at it from a breed standpoint rather than an individual dog he adds," Johnson said.
According bill analysis by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission
, the existing law prohibits an owner, keeper or harborer of a vicious dog from failing to obtain liability insurance with coverage of at least $100,000 to cover damage, bodily injury or death caused by the dog.
Under the new bill, the owner of a pit bull does not have to comply with the previous liability insurance requirements unless the dog meets certain behavioral components of the vicious dog definition.