Fort Thomas Public Safety Committee to keep pit bull ban in place, for now

FORT THOMAS, Ky. -- Pit bulls have been forbidden in Fort Thomas since 1988 due to an ordinance, and the public safety committee reached no decision to change that law Monday.

The ordinance prohibits dog owners from keeping pit bulls and dogs that resemble pit bulls within Fort Thomas city limits.

“We need to do something about this law,” Public Safety Committee Chair Tom Lampe told Fort Thomas Matters .

At the start of Monday's meeting, Fort Thomas city administrator Don Martin presented research on pit bulls and similar breeds. The research showed 19 nearby cities and counties also restrict pits bulls in some way.

About 60 residents attended the meeting, some who don't live in Fort Thomas, but who are glad the pit bull ordinance could change.

Mayor Mary Brown said she wasn't surprised by the turnout, but didn't expect people from surrounding towns to join.

"I was surprised that there were so many people outside of our community giving input," Brown said.

Stephanie Holstein frequents the Fort Thomas dog park with her dog, Lacey. Even though Lacey is not a pit bull, Holstein believes the ban should go.

"I think all dogs are beautiful and awesome," Holstein said. "The way a dog behaves is a reflection of their training and their trainer."

Resident Gina Stegner wants Fort Thomas to be a place pit bulls can call home.

"I think that this became a heated issue for the people of Fort Thomas about a year ago when the friend I mentioned was told to get rid of his dog based on the way his dog looked, and again he was able to prove his dog was not a pit bull, but they wanted him to get rid of it, and that is what got people upset about the law," Stegner said.

Several pit bull advocates brought their concerns to Martin, including the large number of dogs that need loving homes, but have no chance of finding their forever home in Fort Thomas.

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Most recently, a sign was posted at a Fort Thomas dog park to remind pet owners that pit bulls and breeds like pit bulls are not allowed inside.

At the close of Monday's debate, officials left a light at the end of the tunnel for pit bull owners and advocates, as they said they're open to further discussion at a later date.

Staff members from nearby cities said they'd gather notes from other municipalities on substituting breeds and other rules in dog ordinances.

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