Group Takes Stand For Pit Bull Owners Facing Citations

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UPDATED: Wednesday August 6, 2014 11:48 PM

Reynoldsburg City Council voted two Monday's ago to keep the city's ban on pit bulls in place.

Those against the ban say they were not surprised when city council voted to keep it.

They say they are frustrated by the way the city goes about enforcing the ban.

"I was furious when I got the citation," said Gary Graven, who is one of the most recent Reynoldsburg residents to be cited by a police officer for violating the city's ban on pit bulls.

He says he will plead not guilty in court.

Graven's family has what he describes as a boxer-chow mixed breed.

"She's not a pit bull and she hasn't done anything to anybody," he said. "The vet seemed to think she was more boxer than anything else."

Graven says the officer who issued the citation pointed out Liala's shoulders and muzzle as fitting a pit bull description.

The group Pit Bulls for Reynoldsburg says it objects to the way officers cite dog owners.

"Even experts have great difficulty in identifying dogs, especially a mixed breed dog, which is primarily what we're dealing with here," said Lori Schwartzkopf, spokesperson for the group.

Schwartzkopf can legally enjoy her time with her American Pit Bull-Terrier, Walter, because she lives just outside Reynoldsburg.

"These dogs have not done anything wrong," Schwartzkopf said of the pit bulls in Reynoldsburg. "No bad behavior, nothing like that. They're just being turned in by neighbors or flat out cited by police when the police see them."

She says her group is providing legal help to residents who have been cited.

Dayton-based attorney Tammy Nortman is representing some of the owners who were cited.

Nortman tells 10TV her group of clients might consider legal action against the city.

The Pitbulls for Reynoldsburg group is also trying to raise awareness about the city's ban.

"We're not going to quit," Schwartzkopf said.

City council member Chris Long says resident response to the ban has been more positive than negative.

"I've had quite a few residents come up and thank me for continuing the pit bull ban here in the city of Reynoldsburg," he said.

Long says the city's process is working when it comes to identifying potential violations.

"Our officers are doing the best that they can with the training that they've received, and then it just moves through the natural system as far as the courts," he said. "We're not out there seizing animals or anything of that sort. Reynoldsburg doesn't do that."

Schwartzkopf, however, doesn't want to see the ban keep some Reynoldsburg dog owners from enjoying the type of bond she has with her dog.

"We're going to stick around until it's gone," she said.  "I don't care how long it takes. We'll be here."

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