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TOLEDO, OHIO — What’s it means for the city and dog owners?
A judge has ruled parts of Toledo’s breed specific vicious dog law are unconstitutional. One of the attorneys who argued the case is speaking out about what it means for the city and dog owners.
Hugh Smith has all three of his dogs home with him for the first time in months. They have been the center of a case that could have far reaching effects.
Hugh Smith was walking his dogs in October on a leash when one of them broke free and got into a fight with a neighbor’s dog. Smith’s dogs are cane corso’s. They were labeled as a pit bull type by the dog warden and taken to the pound. He was later charged with 13 criminal counts.
Krisiti Haude is one of Smith’s defense attorneys. She is all for vicious dog laws, but says they should be based on behavior not breed. “I knew we were right. I knew our arguments were legally and factually sound, but there was a little part of me that was a little nervous we wouldn’t win,” says Haude.
Judge Michael Goulding has ruled the ten most serious counts are unconstitutional. “I have cried tears of joy. I have jumped for joy, I have screamed for joy. I am excited about the judge’s opinion which we think is the right one,” says Haude.
City councilman D. Michael Collins says even with the ruling, people are still protected. “Whether it’s a poodle, a mutt, or a pit bull we have the force of law to count on if a dog is deemed vicious,” says Collins.
Smith was able to keep one of the dogs at home while the case is in court. The other two dogs have been boarded at a rescue operation and a vet hospital, but now they are all back together.
The city of Toledo can appeal the ruling. The Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates has paid the boarding and vet bills for the dogs.