AUSTINTOWN Trustees strike rules for dogs

A vote on the exotic-animal ordinance has been delayed until the trustees' next meeting.
AUSTINTOWN -- Some residents might be surprised to learn that David Ditzler keeps two dogs as pets.
Ditzler, a township trustee, said that during the past two weeks he's gotten several calls and e-mails from residents who accused him of hating dogs. The calls stemmed from a section in a proposed exotic-animal ordinance that would have addressed vicious and barking dogs.
Trustees Bo Pritchard and Richard Edwards also said they received calls from residents concerned about the dog section. On Monday, trustees removed that section.
The vote on the ordinance was delayed until the next Trustees meeting Aug. 12.
Exotic animals
The ordinance would prohibit keeping as pets exotic animals like alligators. It most likely will be the first passed in the township under home rule, a limited form of self-government approved by the trustees March 11.
Ditzler said the decision to remove the section on dogs shows that township officials will listen to residents' opinions.
"It's just indicative of the fact that we want the [ordinances] that are enacted and enforced in Austintown to be ones that we have issues with," he said.
Pritchard added the ordinance was written by assistant Mahoning County prosecutors and given to the trustees just before their July 8 meeting. Trustees had their first reading of the ordinance at the meeting and didn't have time to remove the section on dogs, he said.
Ditzler also noted that the Ohio Revised Code already includes several regulations governing dogs.
The section on dogs would have allowed township officials to cite owners of dogs that bark for five minutes or longer between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. and 10 minutes or longer between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Vicious dogs
The section would have required owners of vicious dogs to obtain at least $100,000 in liability insurance and keep their pets confined or restrained. Pit bull owners would have been required to obtain a $1 million insurance policy.
About 15 residents attended Monday night's meeting to express opposition to the section on dogs. The trustees eliminated the section before they voiced their opinions.

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