Mahoning Co. Dog Warden: 98 percent of its dogs are pit bulls

A pound official said in the early 1970's, it was the German Shepherd that ruled the pound, then came the Rottweiler

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – As the times change, so does the prominent breed at the Mahoning County Dog Warden.

Currently, 98 percent of the dogs at the Mahoning County dog pound fall under pit bull breeds.

“Seems like every time we go to a house or to a call for people who are registering dogs,” said Rick Tunison of the Mahoning County Dog Pound. “If you look at most of the animal control facilities and rescue agencies in the area, the primary breed you’re going to see is the pit bull terrier.”

Tunison says in the early 1970’s, it was the German Shepherd that ruled the pound. Then came the Rottweiler.

The American Pit Bull, American Staffordshire and Staffordshire Bull Terrier are all considered pit bulls by the pound.

Animal rights activist Jason Cooke thinks it’s a growing breed because of backyard breeders.

“We have individuals throughout our community that aren’t spaying and neutering their animals, their dogs,” he said. “They’re selling those puppies, they’re giving those puppies away. And all of those dogs themselves aren’t spayed or neutered.”

Of the 60-plus pit bulls currently in the Mahoning County pound, only two are deemed “dangerous.” But Tunison says visitors to the shelter explicitly say they don’t trust pits.

There are some problems people owning one can run into — like difficulties finding homeowner’s insurance and landlords that will allow them. But a couple local towns and cities like Youngstown recently got rid of laws against owning them.

“Part of the reason you’re seeing so many communities repeal their breed discriminatory legislation,” Cooke says, “is because these dogs have been bred with so many different types of dogs these days, it’s nearly impossible to determine what exactly is a pit bull terrier.”

To contact the Mahoning County Dog Warden at 589 Industrial Road in Youngstown, call 330-740-2205.