Pit bull rules: Ordinances and regulations vary in communities around the Tri-State

CINCINNATI - On May 22, 2012 Ohio lawmakers passed a bill ending a 25-year ordinance defining pit bulls as "dangerous" or  "vicious" dogs.

Before that, pit bull owners in Ohio were required follow a number of rules about where a pit bull would be housed and how to muzzle and leash the dog when out for a walk. In addition, a pit bull owner was required to carry $100,000 in liability insurance.

Since 2012, pit bull owners in Ohio have no state restrictions, except in two cases:

  1. When a resident resides in a local municipality that has enacted restrictions or bans on pit bulls
  2. When a dog (regardless of breed) is declared dangerous or vicious, as defined by Ohio Revised Code on Dogs: "Caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person; Killed another dog.... Vicious and dangerous dogs include those that have caused injury (mild, serious or fatal) to a person or other animal without provocation"

Cincinnati area municipalities with pit bull restrictions 

  • Elmwood Place 
  • Evendale
  • Fairfield 
  • Hamilton 
  • Lockland
  • Mason 
  • Norwood
  • Reading
  • Sharonville
  • Village of Amberley

See a full list of Ohio municipalities  with pit bull restriction ordinances.


The State of Kentucky treats pit bull ownership in a similar way; in other words, there are no state laws banning restricting, or regulating people who choose to keep this particular breed. As in Ohio, many municipalities do have laws in place.

Northern Kentucky municipalities with pit bull restrictions 

  • Alexandria
  • Covington
  • Crescent Springs 
  • Dayton 
  • Elsmere
  • Fort Thomas 
  • Ludlow 
  • Maysville
  • Newport 
  • Southgate
  • Walton

See a full list of Kentucky municipalities with pit bull restriction ordinances.

Pit bulls have been forbidden in Fort Thomas since 1988 and, on June 2, the city's public safety committee reached no decision to change that law. 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. Foes of the law want to see the breed-specific ban lifted.

In addition to ordinances in local municipalities, some Kentucky counties have their own restrictions for "vicious dogs," which can include pitbulls. (As defined by Kenton County Ordinance 840.8 , pp. 5-6)

In Kenton County , for example, owners of vicious dogs: 

  • Register with Animal Control
  • Spay or neuter the dog
  • Microchip the dog and vaccinate for rabies
  • Carry $100,000 in liability insurance on the dog
  • Provide two photos, front and back of dog
  • House the dog in a kennel outside

Kenton County also dictates the dimensions and security features of a kennel and provides rules for dog walking and muzzling.


Indiana has no statewide laws regulating the ownership of pit bulls. Dearborn County recently repealed an ordinance identifying pit bulls as "vicious" dogs. The following passage was stricken from the books:

“Any dog belonging to a breed that is commonly known as a pit bull dog. The ownership, keeping, or harboring of such a breed shall be prima facie evidence of the ownership, keeping or harboring of a vicious dog.”

Dearborn County does have rules for vicious dogs, regardless of breed, and does not single out pit bulls.

Among other provisions, the ordinance requires owners to:

  • House the dog in a humane kennel with an enclose top and secure sides
  • Obtain 100,000 liability insurance for dog
  • Notify Dearborn County Animal Control if transferring ownership of the dog
  • Post signs warning of vicious or dangerous dog


See a full list of Indiana municipalities  with pit bull restriction ordinances.


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