Lakewood for Charlie

If you’ve noticed “I’m with Charlie” signs around Lakewood, recently, here’s what it’s about.

Lakewood currently has breed-specific legislation (BSL) on the books, which essentially means a ban on pit-bulls, like Charlie. The “I’m with Charlie” campaign promotes a repeal of this discriminatory approach, so all dogs (and dog owners) are subject to the same rules.

I’m in favor of that. I have commented about BSL before, but the simplest and best reason to replace it is that it doesn’t make dogs or people safer. The Center for Disease Control studied this issue for 20 years, and found that BSL just isn’t effective. The bans are also expensive, legally shaky, and may even make problems worse.

But basically, there’s just no reason for keeping a policy that doesn’t work, when alternatives exist that do. In 2011, Cleveland replaced its ban with breed-neutral legislation that focuses on problem behavior.

Cleveland’s policy has been working in practice; I have reviewed the ordinance with its sponsor on Cleveland City Council, and I’m confident it can work well here. I’m ready to introduce a Lakewood-suited breed-neutral ordinance to city council next winter, if I am elected.

Let’s make Lakewood safer, fairer, and better for all.