Saginaw, Michigan to Consider Ordinance Restricting 10 Breeds!

Editor’s note: Saginaw is considering restrictions for 10 breeds (though it should be noted that “pit bull” is not a breed): “pit bulls,” Rottweilers, German shepherds, Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Chows, Great Danes, St. Bernards, and Presa Canarios.   We suspect this list was derived from a CDC study on fatal dog bites called Breeds of dogs involved in fatal human attacks in the United States between 1979 and 1998  Adobe PDF file.   Unfortunately, it looks like Saginaw has neglected to read the fine print since the CDC itself says of its own study that,

“[The CDC study] does not identify specific breeds that are most likely to bite or kill, and thus is not appropriate for policy-making decisions related to the topic.”


The CDC has since stopped collecting dog bite stats because municipalities were misusing the information to do precisely what the CDC advised against: propose breed-specific legislation.   This “study” used dubious sources (i.e. flimsy media accounts of dog bites/attacks and the Humane Society of the United States which itself has pushed breed-specific legislation) and was even dismissed by the CDC itself! (Click here to see a piece we wrote debunking these CDC dog-bite stats using the CDC’s own disclaimers.)

And as an aside, how horrible that Saginaw’s ordinance proposal, which includes a limit of three dogs, does not have a grandfather clause for those who currently happen to have more than three dogs.   This is an ex post facto violation, as is applying new breed-specific restrictions to prior owners of specific breeds, and puts well-loved and perfectly well-cared for pets out of their homes.

Please write the Saginaw Mayor and City Council here and politely inform them that the CDC’s bite stats have been debunked (namely by the CDC themselves) and that breed-specific legislation has nationally and internationally proven to be ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional.


Dog owners may be restricted to no more than three pet pooches, buy licenses for them and face fines if they dont register dogs that are on Saginaws list of the most dangerous canines.  

The Saginaw City Council in the coming weeks likely will vote on the dangerous dogs ordinance thats been in the works since August. Council members could review the new rules Feb. 21 meeting and enact them by April 1.

…Today, city residents pay $12 per year to license spayed and neutered dogs and $25 for dogs that are not fixed to the Saginaw County Animal Care Center. Those 60 and older pay $5 for spayed and neutered dogs.

Under the proposal, owners of animals on the dangerous-dogs list also would have to pay a $50 one-time permit fee at City Hall or face to civil infraction fines set by a judge.

The breeds in the preliminary proposal are on the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions 10 most dangerous dogs list. The list includes pit bulls, Rottweilers, German shepherds, huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman pinschers, chow chows, great Danes, St. Bernards and presa canarios.

The proposal also would require owners of listed dogs to attach a city-issued sign indicating the dogs presence near a homes entrance or doghouse and, when walking the animal, to fit a muzzle over the dogs mouth.

Members of the Saginaw Code Enforcement Neighborhood Improvement Cooperative would enforce the ordinance, treating violations the same way they would a junk car on a persons front yard or garbage strewn across a lawn.

First, the agents would issue a warning.

Continued noncompliance could result in an initial $100 fine, $200 on the next day and $400 for additional infractions.

The council also could adopt lower fines for owners with more than three dogs. Noncompliance could result in a $50 fine the first time, $100 on the next day and $150 for additional infractions.

Herman said the proposals early draft does not include a clause exempting residents who already own more than three dogs.

If somebody has had that number of dogs for years, I dont know what happens, the clerk said. Youd hate to have somebody have to get rid of a dog theyve had for 20 years. These (plans) havent been finalized, though.

When the council introduces the ordinance, bylaws rule the council must wait at least two weeks before voting.

While there will be no public hearings, Herman said citizens can sign up to speak in front of the council to voice concerns or show support…

Read this article in its entirety here.

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