This past weekend was the 2nd Annual Bandanas for Banned Breeds and Pittie Party in Lakewood. Organized by Darwin Dogs, the 2 mile walk and after party was a peaceful protest against Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in Lakewood.
In Northern Ohio, the cities of Parma, Lakewood and Garfield Heights ban Pit Bulls, even though the state of Ohio repealed a BSL ban in 2012 (leaving it up to cities and municipalities to decide).
Despite the sweltering heat (is it May, or July?), the turnout for the walk and after party at Quaker Steak and Lube was impressive. Around 125 people came to the walk, along with 50 dogs of all sizes and breeds. There was some concern before the parade about bringing Pit Bulls into Lakewood, so only a few showed up. Although Pit Bulls attended last year with no issues, the event got so much bigger this year that Darwin Dogs decided to encourage people not bring their bully breed dogs.
I was so impressed with how people from all parts of Ohio came out, some even driving several hours to attend. We also got a lot of support along the way from passing cars and people on the street, including an older lady who happily signed the petition telling us that her good friend has a Pit Bull and she was just down in Columbus at a rally to support ending BSL. As the saying goes, I really believe those of us against BSL are the majority. It’s only a matter of time until our voices are heard. Events like this are just what we need to push the envelope further.
The event gathered around 100 signatures for the petition and they plan to gather more petitions to get this issue on the November ballot. Kerry Stack, owner of Darwin Dogs who organized the event along with her Darwin Dogs’ partner, Danika Migliore, wrote a great letter to the Lakewood City Council you can read here: http://www.darwindogs.org/site/pit-bulls/an-open-letter-to-lakewood-city-council/ I love the idea of providing free seminars for dog owners, since the key to preventing dog bites is truly in training and education, not banning breeds.
If you’re still interested in helping out the cause, keep an eye on Darwin Dogs Facebook and website. They are planning more meetups and would like to have dogs march in the 4th of July parade in Lakewood. Also, be sure to join in on social media, posting photos of your dog with the hashtag #bandanasforbannedbreeds and #onelakewood. I posted a few of Hunter and Roscoe this past weekend, including this one of a confused Hunter after I explained that Pit Bulls were banned in our city.
Also, follow this group to stay up to date on other efforts to end BSL statewide: https://www.facebook.com/ohioansagainstbreeddiscrimination/timeline?ref=page_internal There will be a Ohio Pibble March and Post-Rally Party on May 30 in Columbus as well.
Ok, now for the fun stuff – pictures from the parade and after party. Although it was a fun event, it would be great if next year it’s a real Pittie Party and Pit Bulls would be feel free to attend because they are no longer banned. Stay tuned!