What is HELP FIDO?

Humane Education Leads to Progress
For Informed Dog Owners

Vision Statement: We envision a society free from discrimination, where responsibility, education, love and compassion allow humans to fully respect and understand man's best friend.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Johnstown, Ohio update

Johnstown’s Tuesday council meeting was a full house again. Eventually, the 4 pet limit was dropped; although the breed specific and exotic pet limitations were still included. There was one resident that spoke in favor of the 4 pet limit out of the several dozen who spoke against it during to two public hearings and it appeared that she was actually confused about a feral cat issue. We are assuming her thinking, was that by restricting the number of cats a person could legally own would reduce the feral cat population. However by definition, a feral animal is a “wild animal” that lacks domestication. Thus meaning even restricting ownership rights will not reflect a decrease in the feral population.

Aside from several Johnstown residents (including Paula from Second Chance) several other people from animal welfare organizations testified, including a primate vet, a pit bull rescuer, a dog trainer / AKC CGC evaluator, a reptile specialist and a representative from the Licking County Board of Health. Besides pointing out the lack of proponents for the proposed regulations, several testimonies highlighted, that enforcement would be nearly impossible, and that there are STILL several legal issues with the legislation and how it relates to Ohio Revised Code.

At one point the Sarah Philips, Johnstown Village Manager, stated (to the effect) that several portions of the code in question were word for word out of the ORC, which was later pointed out not to be true as the proposed code was actually more intrusive than the ORC, and included additional language. Also through testimony an interesting detail relating to the supposed “pit bull” incident (from this past spring) that started all of this hoopla emerged. Apparently in the official police report there was NO mention or documentation of ‘breed’ relating to the incident.

Without a push from the residents of Johnstown, one is left to wonder, why the need to limit pet ownership rights? There doesn’t seem to be a real problem with pit bulls, rhinoceroses, elephants, lions, cheetahs, or hyenas (yes those were all included along with several others in the legislation) in Johnstown. With so many experts and for the second public hearing on legislation that still contains many problems, it would seem that if everyone would just work together a solution could emerge that satisfies all parties involved. Johnstown seems to have several organizations, and members of the public willing to help. Hopefully they will embrace these organizations and residents of Johnstown to work toward a positive solution that might encourage and promote responsible pet ownership, instead of limiting pet ownership.

The ordinance has been tabled again until Tuesday, November, 4th.

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