A Pit Bull Owner Drops Some Science On Lakewood's Overbroad

Lakewood drew the line last summer: No more of them mongoloid-necked pit bulls and the visions of Death by Animal they impart. If you were one of the estimated 60 pit bull owners already living in the city, you had until December to get them set up for annual registration, insured and penned correctly. And don't even try getting all CSI: Dogpark and claiming you've got DNA to prove that your pooch isn't one of those breeds. Nobody wants to hear it.

Jason Brown claims he was forced to register his dog as a pit bull because Animal Warden Michael Stewart refused to accept the DNA test Brown paid for, which proved that stocky Macy was 49 percent bulldog and 51 percent Labrador.

"And now I can spend $120-some to file an appeal," says Brown. "I thought DNA was the definitive answer. Including bulldogs as pit bulls - that's basically calling a red pen blue."

Brown was one of the main voices in opposition to the ban. And his other mastiff-looking dog, named Braylon, whom Brown rescued off the street in October during a walk with Macy, just cost him a $192 fine for not being muzzled on his walk - something required of dogs considered potentially vicious.

But with the DNA test, Brown thought he had the perfect gotcha moment in store for Stewart, who says he'd rather err on the side of not getting his neck mauled. American bulldogs and pit bulls are nearly identical, he notes.

"I'm looking for certain features that are distinct to pit bulls - that diamond-shaped head, the muscular build - and with American bulldogs, you can look at a calendar of them next to a calendar of pit bulls and you'd be hard-pressed to tell me what's what. The problem comes down to: If the dog looks like that, you have to enforce the ordinance." Breed profiling?

One of the drawbacks of bureaucracy, notes Stewart, is accommodating the small percentage of people not prone to doing the right thing, those who like their dogs snarly and mean. "The few unfortunately ruin it for the rest." - Dan Harkins


If you work for the Summit County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, it's best you just talk about the weather from now on. A week after the November elections, Senior Director Bill Payne sent out a memo to employees stating: "There is no place in our program for conversation that is NOT related to serving clients. Topics that are off limits include but are not limited to politics, the economy, religion, the possibility of a work stoppage or any other topic that is not directly related to engaging and supporting the individuals we serve."

Could this be a crafty way to silence Republican bellyachers complaining about President Obama's victory and the inevitable tax burden that will be leveled by a Democratic Congress with no fear of veto? That's the fear of the insider who forwarded this e-mail, who says he's afraid to open his mouth at work, lest he be punished by managers who make no secret of their support for Obama.

Look, we hate paranoid conservative banter too, but we also kind of respect the First Amendment. What you're doing is just kind of retarded. - James Renner


A source in the know, speaking to Scene on ultra-double-deep-dark, top-secret, one-two-three-no-tradesies background this week, said that Forest City exec Sam Miller was recently granted the opportunity to review the obituary that will run in The Plain Dealer upon his demise. (He's currently powered by batteries and the need to avenge his getting jacked on the recent Medical Mart deal.)

Asked about the rumor, PD editor Susan Goldberg denied the rumor, sort of. Her e-mailed response: "No, Sam Miller was not given an advance copy of his obit. I personally do not see anything wrong with allowing someone to do a fact check."

Sam Miller spoke briefly with Scene (maybe he thought his secretary said spleen, as in "Toby Cosgrove is on the phone about that new spleen you ordered"). Miller denied editing his obit and said he was doing just fine. "I'll be doing even better if I don't end up in Scene." Jeez, are we that mean? - Renner


Unfortunately for Ken Blackwell, he couldn't figure out a way to rig the election for the Republican National Committee chairmanship the way he did the 2004 presidential election in Ohio (allegedly). After quickly realizing that even moonbat conservatives weren't backing his horse, Blackwell dropped out of the running, allowing Michael Steele to become the first black man to lead the GOP. At least he can always get a job as a tour guide at the Creation Museum.

Now You're Ethical?

What's the deal with Jennifer LaTourette suddenly growing a conscience? Not long ago, she was known as Jennifer Laptook, Congressman LaTourette's former chief of staff with whom he had an extramarital affair before phoning his wife and informed her he wanted a divorce. The Hill exposed the affair in 2003. By then, Laptook had left the congressman's office to become vice president of the lobbying firm Van Scoyoc Associates, whose clients were businesses that needed money from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee - which LaTourette happened to sit on. But last week, after LaTourette was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, Jennifer notified her clients that she could no longer represent them due to the conflict of interest. It's like watching a master play chess: It may seem like she's given up her advantage, but we have a feeling she'll have us taxpayers checkmated again before the game's over.


So apparently the only way to get ahead in this town is to hang out with the McFaul family. You remember last month how Sheriff Gerald McFaul gave raises to his niece and his son's best friend while laying off 18 deputies? Turns out he also made his son, Gerry Jr., a "special deputy" so that the Metroparks ranger could get some cushy extra security work with Tenable. He says it's not nepotism.

Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.
Scroll to read more Cleveland News articles

Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.