LIMA — A new state law redefining vicious dogs does not get pit bulls out of the doghouse locally.On Tuesday, a new state law goes into effect that removes the “pit bull” from the list of vicious dogs. But local officials want the public to know that, in the city of Lima, pit bulls are still restricted.“The city of Lima ordinance still does list pit bulls as being vicious. It's important that people who live in Lima or are visiting know that,” said Major Chip Protsman of the Lima Police Department.Home rule applies to the state law, meaning local ordinances supersede the state's when applying the law. Lima has a long list of regulations applied to pit bulls, along with any other dogs declared vicious. Owners are required to have the dogs leashed and muzzled when walking, must keep them confined when on their premises, and cannot walk more than one at a time. Last year, Lima City Council changed the existing law to make violations a minor misdemeanor. That allows officers to ticket offenders on the spot. Police officials said the change in regulation has helped reduce incidents of dog attacks.Allen County Dog Warden Julie Shellhammer said animal owners would be wise to read the new state law. The law will apply to all areas of the region outside the city. Even in the city, the portions not contrary to Lima ordinance apply.“There are a lot of changes in the state law that people really need to look at closely,” Shellhammer said.Among the changes is a change in definition of restricted dogs. While the law is no longer breed-specific, it has added a tiered system of definitions ranging from nuisance dog — one that has reportedly appeared threatening to a complainant — to vicious dog, meaning a dog that has severely injured or killed a human. There is also a designation for dangerous dogs, those who have bitten a human, killed another dog, or even been caught running loose three or more times.“Anybody who has a dog that bites someone or is running loose three times, they will have what is considered a dangerous dog,” Shellhammer said.Copies of the new state law are available at the Allen County Dog Warden's offices or at the Allen County Auditor's website.
Officials: Pit bulls still regulated in Lima, even after new state law