Michigan Moves Closer to Preventing Dog Breed-Specific Regulations Usually Aimed at Pit Bulls

The Michigan State Senate voted yesterday to prevent cities from banning dog breed-specific ordinances.

There are 30 Michigan cities with dog breed-specific ordinances. The ordinances mainly regulate pit-bulls.

Twenty other states prohibit dog breed-specific regulation.

Michigan Cities With Breed-Specific Regulation

There about 30 Michigan cities with specific dog laws on the books.

For example, Grosse Pointe Woods ban the 4 dog breed types generally regarded as pit bulls. Orchard Lake and Sylvan Lake also ban pit bulls without mention of the 4 breed types.

Not all cities with pit bull regulations ban pit bulls, but have laws on the books that regulate pit bull ownership.

For example, Harper Woods does not ban pit bulls. Harper Woods law bans vicious and dangerous dogs, and labels specific breeds including pit bulls as inherently suspect.

The cities of Dearborn Heights and Hazel Park do not ban pit bulls, but instead impose heightened requirements for pit bull ownership.

Pit Bulls are the Current Dog Enemy Number One

Veterinary experts conclude that pit bulls were not more dangerous than other dogs. However, pit bulls have gained notoriety with attention to attacks on humans over the last decade. In years past other breeds have been dog enemy number one, including German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers.

The Practical Problem With Banning Pit Bulls

Potential state laws in the past have been aimed at banning pit bulls in Michigan. For example, one law (House Bill 4714) proposed a ban on American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and a dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the breeds listed” and “a dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics.”

Think about the problems with enforcing a law that bans any dog similar to a pit bull. Any dog with stocky, muscular features could be targeted.

The  label of “pit bull” generally refers to four different kinds of dog breeds, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Would any of these breeds mixed with any other breed be illegal? Many dog experts conclude there is little consensus on which breeds are actually pit bulls. The enforcement of dog breed-specific laws can be a nightmare, which is part of the reason the potential state law didn’t make it far.

Nevertheless, many cities went forward with dog breed-specific regulations. Many of these law have provisions that ban pit bull mixes and dogs with pit bulls characteristic.

Ann Arbor Dog Laws

There are no dog-breed specific regulations in Ann Arbor. There are still laws related to ownership of dangerous or vicious dogs, however, as well as other rules related to ownership of dogs. Read our article on Ann Arbor Dog Laws for a complete summary of those rules.

Call Us at 734.883.9584

Call Sam Bernstein at 734.883.9584 or e-mail at bernstein@arborypsilaw.com.

Sam Bernstein is a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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