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Update on vicious dog attack: Council members considering pit bull laws

CINCINNATI (Rich Jaffe) -- Zainabou Drame remains in critical condition in Children's Hospital and Monday Local 12 learned more about the damage the two dogs did to her.

In addition to that, Local 12 also learned about two more pit bull attacks over the weekend.  Friday night Cincinnati Police responded to a street fight on West Liberty where a man was using his pit bull to attack other people.  When police arrived they shot and killed the dog.  Then again Sunday police shot and killed a pit bull that was running toward children playing on Montana.  They tased the dog first and when it went after the officers they shot and killed that one too.

That's four dead pit bulls in this city in less than a week.

When Police Lieutenant Colonel Jim Whalen briefed the members of the Law and Public Safety Committee about last weeks pit bull attack on 6-year-old Zainabou Drame, you could hear him trying to keep his voice from cracking.

"The little girl had just tremendous facial and throat injuries.  One of our police officers, Mike Bricker, rendered medical aid that clearly saved her life.  He rolled her on her side to clear her airway, blood was choking her.  And eventually reached in and grabbed her carotid which was open and held onto it to keep her from bleeding out."

Police say the violent attack on the little girl started when she stumbled in front of the house on Aquadale Lane.  Investigators believe the two massive dogs were basically the guardians of the homeowners drug stash.  When police entered the home they arrested the dogs' owner, convicted drug dealer Zontae Irby, on drug and weapons charges.

The attack rekindled debate in the city about what to do with pit bulls and other dangerous dogs.  One council member, Charlie Winburn, recounted the days of the pit bull ban.

"What happened, we had all these pit bull owners they come down and whine and cry and complain, bellyache and all this other stuff.  Is there anything we could do to strengthen that law if we had to on the owners?"

Colonel Whalen responded, "It really gets down to personal responsibility.  Any person who has a dog, any breed of dog that can do this kind of damage, you need to confine it, contain it and be responsible for it."

Whalen suggested looking around the country to see what other cities are doing on the issue.

Council member Kevin Flynn pointed out, "Pit bulls are very powerful dogs.  They can also be some of the most loving dogs in the world.  It really is as Col. Whalen said, it's about personal responsibility and how you train that dogs."

Members of the Law and Public Safety Committee want to see if there's something the city can do to make current vicious dog laws easier for police officers to enforce.  They also want to find out if something similar can be done on the state level.

The owner of the pit bulls, Zontae Irby, remains behind bars at the justice center.  His mother, Volores White, is out on bond charged with permitting drug trafficking in the home.


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