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Dog bites can become even more expensive for dog owners in Cincinnati, Ohio following adoption of a new law earlier this month.

Owners of dogs who bite can now be fined up to $15,000.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the law which was adopted on March 5th, “stops short of criminalizing dog bites.”  According to Cincinnati Councilman Kevin Flynn, the new law is designed to target irresponsible dog owners rather than specific dogs or dog breeds.

The Cincinnati law will permit police to cite owners civilly with first time fines of $5,000 and up to $15,000 for repeat offenders.  Dog owners may also be cited and fined if their dogs are unleashed, permitted to run loose or if the dog attempts to bite a person.

Mayor John Cranley had favored a breed specific law targeting pit bull dogs, however, he approved of the compromise law passed by the city council.

While the State of Ohio no longer has breed specific laws, some Ohio communities still maintain breed specific laws.  Earlier this week, the City Council of Newark voted 6-4 in favor of maintaining that city’s breed specific law, which labels pit bull dogs as “vicious dogs.”  Newark City Council previously voted to allow individual pit bulls to be removed from vicious dog status if the animal had formal training and passed a “good citizenship” test.

Dog bites are serious. On average, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Of this number, more than 2 million were children. According to the most recent information from the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites cost U.S. insurance companies $483 million. State Farm Insurance Company indicated that the state of Ohio ranked third in the United States for dog bite claims.

If you or a loved one have suffered injury as a result of a dog bite, contact the experienced dog bite attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List.