Changes benefiting Newark pit bull owners could soon be in the works. A city ordinance currently designates pit bulls as vicious, whether or not they have harmed anyone. But dog owners tell 10TV they are optimistic the breed-specific language will soon be removed from the city’s ordinance.
“I’m hopeful,” pit bull owner Skip Swendryck said of a possible change in the law. "I think it's a bit much. I think (pit bulls) are sweethearts, and I don't think they should be deemed a vicious dog just because of their breed. I think they should have a chance just as well as any other dog."
Swendryck isn't alone in his views. Other pit bull backers showed support for the dogs both outside and inside Newark’s city council chambers Tuesday night. "I can't stand it,” pit bull supporter Niki Arter said of the current legislation. “I just don't want it to keep going on. When we can do something about it, let's do it."
City council members tell 10TV they have received plenty of support for pit bulls and have heard no voices of opposition. "We held a safety committee meeting which happened last week. And at that point in time, we had over 50 people show up that all were on the same side. They all want to see the breed-specific legislation overturned,” said council member Jeff Rath.
Rath says there is strong support from council to remove the breed specific language. He says he plans to submit a draft proposal to the city's law director on Wednesday. Council's safety committee would then discuss that proposed legislation on Monday. "We're going to try to strike it out and have pit bulls treated like every other animal,” he said.
Until that change comes, dog owners like Swendryck say they'll be at council meetings every step of the way. "Whatever it takes,” Swendryck said. “That's for sure."