Man pleads not guilty to vicious dog charge

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — A Gallipolis man on Chillicothe Road pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of owning a dangerous and vicious dog in accordance with municipality law.

Jeremy Collins, 38, appeared in Gallipolis Municipal Court and pleaded not guilty to police claims that he possessed a pit bull within the city limits after officers arrived at his house June 23.

According to Gallipolis City Code 505.14, “It is unlawful to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport, or sell any pit bull dog within the City.”

The ordinance then goes on to explain that it recognizes pit bulls as any dog categorized as an American pit bull terrier, bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier or American Staffordshire terrier. The ordinance also lists “any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding” with the previous dogs listed as also being banned from within the city limits.

According to police reports, officers were dispatched to Collins’ residence after receiving complaints of three dogs allegedly living at the home. While approaching the home, a man was exiting the building. An officer reported seeing “what appeared to be a pit bull in the living room area of the residence.”

Reportedly, Collins met with the officer on the porch and was told about the complaint in regards to the dogs at his home. Collins allegedly responded that he did not have three dogs and said he only owned one dog the officer had observed on his approach. Two other dogs had been at the house but were picked up by their owner a few days before.

The officer then cited Collins with a first-degree misdemeanor in regard to regard to the presence of the animal and served with a court summons. Collins was reportedly advised to relocate the dog. Police reports say Collins had been given a warning for a similar offense in January 2015.

Gallipolis’ pit bull ordinance has often been regarded as an answer to a pit bull attack in January 2009. A 13-year-old girl entered a home of friends when the owners were not present. The girl suffered bites to her arm. The city enacted the ordinance shortly thereafter.

A man who lived in Gallipolis at the time approached the city commission last September under a similar circumstance. Officers approached him for owning a pit bull within city limits. After asking the commission to change its view on the standing ordinance, the commission deliberated and after a time decided to not change the law.

Individuals convicted of owning a listed illegal breed within municipal limits could potentially face six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright