'I'm with Charlie', a local woman's fight to keep her dog

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A Lakewood woman is one step closer to finding out if her pit bull can lawfully stay in the city.

Since 2008, Lakewood has imposed a city ban on vicious and canary dogs, including dogs that resemble pit bulls.

Jennifer Scott purchased Charlie from a local shelter about four months ago, with the city’s written approval.
When Charlie ran away recently, Scott was reported and told she would have to have a hearing with the city to keep her pet.

On Wednesday, Jennifer Scott had that private hearing with the support of dozens of people who live in surrounding cities.

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Scott pleaded her case to animal control officers and city officials in the hopes of getting approval once again to keep her dog at her home.

According to Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers, it comes down to public safety.

“We’ve had experiences with dogs in this community and this breed in particular, that has indicated that we’re slightly less safe than otherwise,” Summers said.

In a peaceful protest, many people, like Tristan Rader, said that statement is up for debate.

He’s running for city council and said this ordinance is outdated.

“I do believe breed specific legislation is a racist rule and we need to take care of it,” Rader said.

Steve Zupan, another Lakewood resident, said it is doable to get rid of the ordinance.

A week ago, he was granted permission to keep his therapy dog: a pit bull.

“The city tries to bully residents who have these dogs because they don’t know about these things and most people don’t have the money to fight this,” Zupan said.

Protestors chanted “I’m with Charlie” for hours, hoping the city and the mayor will hear.

“It’s an emotional issue,” Summers said. “I understand, but we have to make the best judgements that we can and in my opinion, we’re gonna air on the side of being safe.”

City officials have three to five business days to return a decision on whether Scott will be able to keep her dog or re-home him.