By Dustin Ensinger
Reynoldsburg’s law banning pit bulls will be re-examined.
Reynoldsburg City Council recently voted 4-2 in favor of forming a committee of 12 to review the law and present council with recommendations on potential changes.
Council members Cornelius McGrady and Mel Clemens voted against the measure.
Clemens said he opposed the formation of a committee to study the law because it should be left to council.
“We were elected to make the decisions for the city of Reynoldsburg,” Clemens said. “If they don’t agree with how we vote, they can take us to court or take us on the ballot.”
The formation of the committee was based on the recommendation of Council President Doug Joseph, who offered a list of seven names, including City Attorney Jed Hood and Police Chief Jim O’Neil. Neither Hood or O’Neil would have voting power.
Joseph’s list included five people who live or work in Reynoldsburg along with experts on the issue, he said.
“This list accomplishes everything council wanted,” Joseph said, adding the group will be able to “take the emotion out of the issue and get to the science of it.”
But the composition did not satisfy Councilmember Leslie Kelly.
“There should be more residents than non-residents,” she told Joseph.
Sensing he did not have a majority to approve his nine member list, he invited council members to submit their own list of names to sit on the committee. However, he said adding more members would likely stall any progress on the issue.
“If you want to put on a show trial, that’s your right,” he said.
Councilmember Daniel Skinner, who helped draft the list, made a motion to add three additional Reynoldsburg residents to the committee.
The three Reynoldsburg residents added to the committee are former Reynoldsburg City Schools board member Ryan Brezezinski, Carrie Acosta and Bruce Sowell, who spoke out against any changes to the law during the meeting.
They will be joined by the original seven voting members recommended by Joseph: attorney Steven Smith; veterinarian Joel Melin; doctor Heath Joliff; dog trainer Scott Mueller; Director Franklin County Director of Animal Control Joe Rock; and city residents Monica DeBrock and Mark McKenzie.
DeBrock is a former Reynoldsburg city councilmember.
The committee will first meet by March 5, and present council with recommendations by May 12. Joseph said the group will explore the law as it relates to all vicious dogs. None of its recommendations will be binding.
“This group of people have no power,” Joseph said.
A similar committee, consisting of many of the same people, was formed in 2012 and disbanded just weeks later because some council members felt that it was weighted too heavily towards pro-pit bull members.