LIMA, Ohio — As advocates celebrate the end of a 25-year-old Ohio law that declared Pit Bulls to be inherently vicious, a 3-day-old infant in her baby swing was attacked by the family’s Pit Bull on Thursday at her grandmother’s house. The baby girl suffered a blunt-force head injury that Lucas County Deputy Coroner Dr. Cynthia Beisser said was “consistent with a dog biting down on her head.”
The attack occurred at approximately 6:30 p.m. on May 17 at the home near Beaverdam. Tiny Makayla Darnell died a few hours later, Chief Deputy Jim Everett of the Allen U Sheriff’s Office advised theAssociated Press.
Makayla’s grandmother, Janette Myers, 44, of Monroe Township, told investigators that the baby’s mother, Audrianna Myers, 22, was preparing to feed her and had put the infant in the swing in the living room near the doorway to the kitchen. The mother and grandmother were just a few feet away in the kitchen when they heard a whimper from the infant, according to the deputy.
They rushed the severely injured baby to a local hospital, and she was then flown to a hospital in Toledo, where she died about 11 p.m.
Julie Shellhammer, Allen County Dog Warden, said she cannot say whether the 4-year-old male dog is a purebred or mixed Pit Bull. The dog is in custody at the shelter while an investigation of the incident is being conducted. PIT BULLS NO LONGER DEFINED AS VICIOUS UNDER NEW OHIO LAW
Ohio House Bill 14, which was approved 67-30 in February by the Ohio State Legislature and signed by Governor John Kasich, took effect Tuesday, May 22, 2012. It establishes a process by which owners, keepers, or harborers of dogs that have been designated as nuisance, dangerous, or vicious may appeal that designation.
The old law defined a "vicious dog" as one that, without provocation, has seriously injured a person, killed another dog, or belonged to the general breed of "pit bull."
Best Friends Animal Society, the Pit Crew and the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates celebrated the change to Ohio's vicious dog law by presenting a Neighborhood Pit Bull Day.
Jean Keating, co-founder of Lucas County Pit Crew, said the law change means that "we no longer discriminate based on physical appearance in our Ohio Revised Code. Perhaps now we can move forward with educating people about why dogs bite and how to stay safe around dogs,” reports the Toledo Blade.
The law also defines a "nuisance dog," changes the definitions of a "dangerous dog" and a "vicious dog," and requires the owner of a dangerous dog (of any breed) to obtain a dangerous dog registration certificate.
The new law prohibits certain felons from owning dogs under certain conditions and changes the penalties involving ownership of nuisance, dangerous, and vicious dogs.
The legislative change was championed by Rep. Barbara Sears (R., Monclova Township,) who was honored by several dog groups on Saturday for sponsoring the Bill and for her dedication to removing the breed-discriminatory designation from Ohio's law.
Three-day-old Makayla Darnell ‘s mother and grandmother could not be reached for comment after the baby girl's tragic death.