That's what Ohio courts all determined in Tellings v. Toledo .
Of course, we already knew that.
So why did Ohio's Supreme Court then decide to uphold the constitution-ality of its statutes that include pit bulls in its definition of "vicious" dog? And why did Ohio's Supreme Court uphold the constitutionality of Toledo's ordinance restricting ownership of pit bulls and pit bull mixes?
The Ohio appellate court's opinion included lengthy and logical reasoning based on the entire record before it, and gave us hope that finally, the judiciary was going to stop believing the myths and unsupported maligning that this breed has endured for much too long.
Then the Ohio Supreme Court reversed, basing its rulings almost wholly on the testimony of a dog warden, and brushing over the fact that the trial court found that the breed is no more dangerous than any other breed. It's especially absurd in light of the fact that the record in both the trial and appellate courts contradicts the Supreme Court's recount of testimony. The opinion reads as if the court was determined to find a way to get to the result it wanted, as opposed to analyzing and applying the law to the evidence.
Deep, long breaths. The Ohio case was so close to being a big victory for all of us, and we are so grateful to all those who worked so hard to support Mr. Tellings.
The silver lining here is that the two of the Court of Appeals judges and the separate, concurring opinion of the Supreme Court judge took great pains to express their differing opinions, stray from the crowd, and not blindly buy into assumptions that were not supported by the record. It may not seem like much, but the dissension here wouldn't have happened years ago. The pit bull community's education and outreach efforts are making a difference. Although the end result of Ohio is a loss, the meaty middle – the part that finds the breed not inherently dangerous or vicious, and that there's no support for the proposition that pit bulls bite more frequently than other breeds – is a significant step forward for us, and a judicial concession that we should use to our advantage in the ongoing fight against BSL.
Politicians and the judiciary are recycling the same erroneous and political beliefs to support the implementation of BSL. It's a vicious cycle that has to stop. In a society that thrives on shock-value and fear of the unknown, it's surely an uphill battle. But we have to keep working to shift the public mind away from perpetuating myths and assumptions, and toward focusing on reality and facts.
The tide can turn and the time is now.