Ypsilanti Township, Michigan Considering Mandatory Spay/Neuter Law for “Pit Bulls”

By Editor
In Breed-Specific Legislation
Sep 23rd, 2010
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Editor’s note: Please contact the Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees here and politely inform them that since almost any medium- and large-breed dog (and I guess even Chihuahuas!) can be called a “pit bull,” though “pit bull” is not a breed, that perhaps the Humane Society of Huron Valley’s stats on “pit bulls” might be grossly skewed.  Please also kindly inform them that breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter is just as unconstitutional as regular ol’ breed bans.  It is also well known now that mandatory spay/neuter is failed legislation bringing compliance down for other things like rabies vaccines and licensure.  And as with most punitive legislation, the same irresponsible people who bring it about won’t comply.  Irresponsible dog owners either ignore the law, or simply switch to irresponsibly owning other breeds.

From The Ypsilanti Courier:

Ypsilanti Township is considering a change to their code of ordinances that would require all pit bulls to be spayed or neutered by Jan. 1, 2011.

According to the language of the new law, pit bull owners found in violation of the ordinance would be guilty of a criminal misdemeanor punishable by not more than a $500 fine and/or imprisonment for not more than 90 days.

New proposed ordinances require “readings” at two separate public meetings, and publication in a newspaper before they can become law. The board heard the first reading of the proposed amendment on Tuesday evening during their regular board meeting, with a second reading scheduled for their next meeting in October.

Six trustees voted to approve the reading, with trustee Mike Martin dissenting.

According to data provided by the Humane Society of Huron Valley, in 2009, 49.2 percent of all dog intakes in Ypsilanti Township were pit bulls. In 2009, the breed accounted for 50 percent of all euthanasia performed at the Humane Society of Huron Valley. For the top ten breeds taken in by the Human Society in Ypsilanti Township in 2009, 237 of the 432 were pit bulls.

…But not everyone is happy about the new ordinance.

“Every community I’ve seen this in, the next step is banning breeds. It’s breed-specific legislation,” said Angela Barbash, a West Willow resident and the owner of two pit bulls that she said she prefers to refer to as Staffordshire terriers. One of her dogs is spayed and the other is not, and she said she had not intended to neuter him.

…”You are penalizing and infringing on private property here,” she said. “Criminals don’t follow the law. Backyard breeders and people who fight dogs don’t follow the law, so what you’re going to end up with is responsible dog owners being cited.”

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