Garden City, Michigan May Consider Breed-Specific Ordinance for “Pit Bulls”
Editor’s note: If Councilwoman Lynch can say that “not all pit bulls are vicious” then is she knowingly seeking to propose legislation that would deprive innocent people of their innocent dogs? And as an aside, no breed (though “pit bull” is not a breed) is inherently vicious. That’s why people who know dogs repeatedly say “It’s the deed, not the breed.” Deed not breed means that dog owners (and their dogs) should be judged singularly by what they do, not by what it is thought they might do based on some arbitrary designation like the kind of dog they happen to own, and not based on false media stereotypes or urban mythology about so-called “pit bulls.”
Also, since there is no such breed as a “pit bull,” the three incidents Councilwoman Lynch cites as “‘pit bull’ attacks” could easily have been from three different actual breeds. As such, focusing on what she would define as “pit bulls” would be nothing more than an attempted catch-all to restrict the breeds that may or may not even have been responsible for the incidents in question. This is madness and as has been shown by the recent examples of Topeka, Kansas and Toledo, Ohio nationally (to name a few), and Ontario, Italy, the U.K., and the Netherlands internationally, breed-specific legislation touted as a catch-all for these so-called “vicious” breeds doesn’t even work. Worse, it severely punishes law-abiding dog owners while irresponsible dog owners (who are in the extreme minority) continue to disregard the law.
Please contact the Garden City Mayor and City Council here and politely inform them that breed-specific legislation — whether an outright ban or restrictions — is ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional.
[Councilmember Jaylee Lynch] is looking for stronger measures in dealing with pit bulls in the community.
…“I’d like the council to get behind this,” said Lynch. “I know not all pit bulls are vicious, but the breed is known to be vicious and people treat them differently because of that.”
Lynch cited a report by Police Chief Robert Muery which indicated that there has been three pit bull attacks, The one that bothers her the most is the August incident in which “we have no clue who the owner of the dog was,” she said.
In the latest incident, a Garden City police officer sought safety in his vehicle Monday, Oct. 18, after a pit bull he was trying to snare charged at him.
The police department was called by a resident who reported seeing the pit bull running around the outside of Lathers Elementary School. The police officer found the dog at Sheridan and Gilman and followed it to the porch of the home in the 1700 block of Gilman where he presumed the dog lived.
Dearborn Heights animal control was called, and the 16-year-old son of the dog’s owner was able to lead it into the animal control vehicle. The dog was taken to a shelter in Allen Park, pending outcome of the investigation.
The police have gone to the home on numerous occasions about complaints of a dog at large. The owner was cited four times, dating back to June 8, 2009. However, there were times when no contact was made with the owner.
Garden City does have an ordinance, passed in 1993, that makes it unlawful and punishable for any person to keep or harbor any vicious or dangerous dog anywhere within the city.
A vicious or dangerous dog is defined as any dog that has, without provocation, attacked or bitten any person engaged in a lawful activity, and any dog that has attempted to bite any person engaged in a lawful activity, and any dog that has on more than one occasion bitten, seriously injured, or killed another domestic animal within an 18-month period.
If found guilty of the misdemeanor, the violator could be punished by a fine of not more than $500 and costs of prosecution or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or both fine and imprisonment. Upon a finding that a dog is vicious or dangerous, the court may, in addition to the penalties, order the dog to be destroyed.
“I don’t want to see anyone else maimed or hurt because of these dogs,” said Lynch. “Maybe this is something we could adopt.”