• 66°

South Point repeals pit bull ordinance: Committee appointed for input on new law

SOUTH POINT — The South Point village council voted on Tuesday to repeal its ordinance on pit bulls and “vicious dogs.”

Mayor Jeff Gaskin said the law, which had been in place since 2012, had “become a model for many municipalities in the country” and was, at one point, upheld in a federal court challenge.

However, it had come into conflict with a revision in Ohio law, which does not allow for breed-specific bans.

“Just because your name is Mary does not mean you are a bad girl and just because you are a pit bull does not mean you are a bad dog,” Gaskin said, explaining the reasoning behind state law.

The council voted unanimously to repeal the ordinance. Gaskin then appointed a three-person committee of South Point residents to work on the issue. He said one of the members’ family had owned two pit bulls.

“These are three long-time, fine, South Point dog-loving citizens,” he said.

Council member Marlene Arthur will serve as liaison for the committee, who are asked to report back in 60 days with ideas for a new ordinance, which will be discussed at the Dec. 3 meeting of council.

“We could do a lot of small things, but this gives a chance to write something that goes a long way,” Gaskin said. “Ohio gives us a lot of leeway.”

Gaskin said they want input from residents and asked them to contact his office and council members.

“We work for the 4,000 people of South Point and want to know what they think,” he said.

In other business, the council:

• Had a second reading of the disturbance of the peace ordinance.

• Voted to suspend the three-reading rule and passed a proposal to update fines for police citations to be more in line with Ohio code. Further updates on an itemized basis may take place at future meetings.

• Declared several vehicles, including a pickup truck, dump truck, minivan and others as surplus to be auctioned.

• Passed the 2020 budget as presented.

• Voted to reduce the pay rate for a village position. A 23-year employee had retired and the pay was changed from $23 an hour to $16 an hour.

• Heard from village administrator Russ McDonald, who said all fire hydrants in the village have been painted and actuated.
“They’re all good,” he said, adding that they had been tested in the spring.
He said a pump has also been installed on one well.

• Heard from police chief Chris Mahjer, who said a grant had been secured for body armor for officers.

• Heard from fire chief Mark Goodall, who said call volume had been up for the past month, due to EMS calls and requests for lifting assistance.

Goodall also urged residents to be mindful when exiting vehicles. He said the department had received multiple calls for lockouts with children inside cars.

“In this heat, with a kid in a car for a period of time, it doesn’t take long,” he said of the dangers.

He also reminded residents that the department’s pancake breakfast fundraiser is set for Saturday morning at the fire station.

• Heard from Gaskin, who reminded residents that the village’s community yard sale will take place on Saturday, accompanied by a shred day. Residents may bring documents and papers for shredding to the former Family Dollar building from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.