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Southfield (MI) agrees to ban pit bulls

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by shadowwolf, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. shadowwolf

    shadowwolf Good Dog

    Southfield agrees to ban pit bulls
    By Jennie Miller
    C & G Staff Writer
    SOUTHFIELD — The city became the fifth in the state to ban pit bull ownership after the Southfield City Council gave the go-ahead Aug. 11.
    The item came before council because the city has been without an animal control officer for four years. City Attorney John Beras brought the recommendation that the city hire a new officer and discuss the issue of placing restrictions on the ownership of “dangerous dogs,†or banning them outright.
    “There’s no question that we have problems with dangerous dogs,†Beras said, adding that under state law, if a dog bites another animal or a person, it is considered a dangerous animal.
    Typically, those animals tend to be pit bulls, but Beras said the city has also had problems with rottweilers, German shepherds, Doberman pinschers and bull mastiffs. Pit bulls can be regulated in the U.S. and in Michigan, though, because scientific study shows that the animals have inherent tendencies to aggressive behavior.
    However, Southfield City Councilman Bill Lattimore said owners play a role, and pit bulls suffer from a poor reputation.
    “Unfortunately, pit bulls get a bad rap because it’s mostly their owners, who tend to train or make these dogs mean,†said Southfield City Councilman Bill Lattimore. “Any dog can be viscous if they are trained to be mean or if they’re treated cruelly.â€
    Southfield’s former animal control officer retired in 2004 and was never replaced due to budget constraints.
    “I don’t know a city this size that doesn’t have an animal control officer,†said Southfield City Councilman Ken Siver, a member of the neighborhood services committee, which recommended the action. “We just think it’s time we elevated the discussion on this.â€
    Right now, animal complaint calls coming in to the Southfield Police Department are handled by those officers, depleting the department of staff hired to perform other essential tasks, and costing the city money for overtime. Without an officer assigned to those duties, the same kind of revenue has not been generated through court action, Beras said.
    “She continuously wrote tickets for barking dogs, dogs straying off property …,†Beras said. “If a dog bites a person or another dog, (we) can seize that dog, we can hold it, ask the dog to be euthanized, restricted to its property or the judge can require it kept in a completely enclosed pen and that the owner have certain liability insurance. There is a process by which a civil proceeding (takes place).â€
    When they had an animal control officer, the city dealt with this type of court hearing three to four times a year, Beras said. Since the position has been vacant, the city has been involved in only one such case.
    “Clearly there was a dramatic fall-off,†Beras said.
    And not because the need was lacking.
    “It’s a growing problem,†Lattimore said.
    “Clearly, we need enforcement on this,†said Southfield City Council President Joan Seymour.
    Council approved hiring a new — and this time armed with a gun — animal control officer 5-0. Council members Syliva Jordan and Myron Frasier were absent from the meeting. The officer will be armed as a safety precaution, "So that they feel safe going into a situation, but also, if they have no other choice but to shoot," Beras said.
    The discussion turned to what kind of action to take about the pit bulls.
    “My personal preference is to outlaw them,†Siver said, adding that a former next-door neighbor had three pit bulls and it significantly altered the quality of life for him during their time there. “It was a terrible experience.†He said he has talked to numerous residents who are experiencing the same kind of turmoil. “It is a problem.â€
    Councilman Don Fracassi, Siver and Lattimore made up the majority needed to approve the ban. Pit bulls currently residing in the city are grandfathered in, but are subject to new restrictions.
    According to the restrictions, pit bulls already in the city must be registered and licensed as a pit bull; be kept on no longer than a four-foot leash and be muzzled when off the property; if the animal is kept in a dog pen, the pen must have a roof and a floor; and the owner must have liability insurance.
    Melvindale, Waterford Township, Grosse Pointe Woods and Ecorse have also prohibited pit bull ownership. Twelve other municipalities, including Muskegon Heights, Roosevelt Park, Newaygo, Alma, Dearborn Heights, Westland, Morenci and Claybanks Township have enacted pit bull restrictions.
    Currently, Wyandotte, Allen Park, Farmington Hills, Hazel Park and Redford Township are exploring the options regarding dangerous dogs.
    “This is a health, safety and welfare issue,†Beras said, adding that he will draft the ordinance and bring it back before council at a later meeting for final approval.
    You can reach Staff Writer Jennie Miller at jmiller@candgnews.com or at (586) 279-1108.
  2. Mollie's Nana

    Mollie's Nana Krypto Super Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    [quote..."Owners play a role, and pit bulls suffer from a poor reputation.
    “Unfortunately, pit bulls get a bad rap because it’s mostly their owners, who tend to train or make these dogs mean,” said Southfield City Councilman Bill Lattimore. “Any dog can be viscous if they are trained to be mean or if they’re treated cruelly.” " quote]

    If they understand that the owners are responsible, and any dog can be made to be vicious... then why the heck are they banning 'pit bull' breeds??? uggh!!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2008
  3. katiem465

    katiem465 Puppy

    Its getting closer and closer to home for us. I live in bay city MI and the pit bull ban has been presented three different times to council and never passed, but im afraid that with other counties and municipals of michigan passing them it will give my city and county the momentum it needs to get them passed. It isnt right that when we take family vacations with the dog we have to check the map and create alternate routes so we do not get fined. and then if we do not and we go through the areas where pit bulls are banned feeling like a criminal and being afraid to get pulled over or let our dog hang his head out the window. I would be devestaed to have to give up Captain ( my pit) but i think the one that it would hurt the most would be my three year old daughter. How could i explain the situation to her? i couldn't! and yet the reality faces me that ignorince is in office in a few places and i may have to one day try to explain to her why her puppy is getting taken away.
  4. shadowwolf

    shadowwolf Good Dog

    Write letters. Come to meetings. Get involved. The MAPBTC (Michigan American Pit Bull Terrier Club) is working hard here in MI to get these laws resolved. We're badly in need of more APBT owning members to help us fight these battles.
  5. shadowwolf

    shadowwolf Good Dog

    Meeting is Monday @ 7:00
    2600 Evergreen Rd. Between 10 & 11mi
    Council Chambers

    Again, Michigan residents, we NEED you to help us fight this battle. It's not just pit bulls. It's every breed.
  6. shadowwolf

    shadowwolf Good Dog

    The meeting went as well as it could tonight. Polite letters to all members of council are still more then welcome. Rude letters, however, are not.

    Another meeting occurs in a couple of weeks. I'll be there for sure.

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