Last month, the Michigan Senate voted to prohibit local governments from maintaining dog breed-specific regulations. About 30 local governments in Michigan currently maintain such regulations, which typically range from complete bans on certain breeds to compulsory methods such as neutering and muzzle requirements for certain types of dogs. Breeds that are most commonly targeted by such regulations include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds.
The Senate bill now moves to the House for consideration. If the bill is passed by the House and approved by the Governor, local bans based upon the breed of a dog would be a thing of the past in Michigan. Local governments would, however, retain authority to enact requirements of dog owners related to caring for their pets.
Critics of the pending measure argue that local governments are better suited than state legislators to respond to problems within their jurisdictions. Those in favor of the bill contend that the concept of breed-specific legislation relies on the erroneous notion that some breeds are inherently more aggressive or dangerous than others, is akin to profiling, and keeps adoptable pets in the state’s animal shelters. They maintain that focusing regulations on the dogs distracts from the real problem, which is irresponsible dog owners, and that people with bad intentions simply circumvent the purpose of breed-specific legislation by turning “harmless” breeds into “killer” breeds to stay one step ahead of existing laws.
If you want to voice your opinion on this and other pending legislation, contact your Michigan Representative and your Senator.