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Bitch Noone Wanted
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The city of Ecorse, Michigan is interested in public feedback regarding its pit bull ban passed in 2006. This is an excellent opportunity for positive change!

Please take a moment to write to the Ecorse city officials to encourage them to repeal their breed specific ordinance and enact a breed-neutral law that combats irresponsible dog ownership practices - not particular breeds of dogs. Individual e-mail contact information is not available for the city council members, but letters and suggestions can be faxed to the city clerk with a polite request to distribute to the mayor and city council members.

City of Ecorse, Michigan
3869 West Jefferson Avenue
Albert J. Buday Civic Center
Ecorse, Michigan 48229-1798
Phone (313) 386-2520
Fax: (313) 386-4316

Mayor Larry Salisbury
[email protected]

Mayor Pro Tem
Theresa A. Peguese
313-386-2520 x 400

City Clerk
Charles Hunter
313-386-2520

City Council
Julie Cox 313-386-2520
Arnold Lackey 313-386-2520
Brenda R. Banks 313-386-2520
Nathaniel Elem 313-386-2520
Jay Strassner 313-386-2520

ECORSE: City looks to lighten vicious dog ordinance
Published: Sunday, March 27, 2011

By Lisa Yensen

ECORSE - The city is looking at possible changes to its vicious dog ordinance.

Since 2006, pit bulls have not been allowed in the city.

That includes bull terriers, Staffordshire or American Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers and any breeds with those mixes.

The current ordinance also prohibits any dog with violent tendencies and dogs known for unprovoked attacks on humans.

Any dog fitting those descriptions can be held by an animal warden until a court can determine whether it is a pit bull terrier.

Police Detective Lt. Stephen Salas said he believes pit bulls are a threat to people.

Earlier this month in the 4300 block of Eighth Street, a couple in their 60s were attacked by the pit bull staying in their home.

"It was a dog they had been caring for for months," Salas said. "Their son had owned the dog, but a job kept him on the road so he was no longer able to care for the dog or be around on a regular basis."

The couple agreed to take care of the dog for their son.

"The dog had been familiar to them for months," Salas said. "Neighbors all knew the dog. It was a very friendly pit bull dog. But, somehow it injured itself."

He said the dog could have torn its paw on a fence. The couple took the dog to a veterinarian, where its injury was treated with stitches and antibiotics, and it was returned home.

"The shame is that on that particular night, the husband had gone to the dog and was checking on the dog's injury," Salas said. "The dog was very protective of its injury and lashed out at the gentleman."

The dog bit the man numerous times. The dog then turned on the man's wife when she attempted to intervene.

"It wouldn't stop," Salas said. "It just relentlessly attacked both of them."

Officers had to shoot the dog three times before it stopped attacking. Those wounds were fatal, Salas said.

The department has had about a dozen calls regarding pit bulls this year. Two of those instances ended with the dogs being fatally shot.

"Whenever we see someone with a pit bull, the officer is advised to issue them a citation," Salas said.

The city's ordinance also says: "The court shall order that any dog determined to be a pit bull terrier shall be destroyed or removed from the city."

The city is looking into whether it is too difficult to enforce the ordinance.

"If it's problematic, we'd be willing to take it back for reconsideration with City Council and so we can get public feedback, as well," city Emergency Financial Manager Joyce Parker said.

Parker said City Attorney Karen Folks has been reviewing the ordinance.

"The thing that appears to be the case here is it assumes that all pit bulls are inherently dangerous, so, therefore, it prohibits a particular breed as opposed to a vicious dog," Folks said.

"I'm not aware of any authoritative study that has said that pit bulls are inherently dangerous."

She also said the ordinance does not have any "grandfather" clause that would allow pit bull owners who obtained their animals before 2006 to keep them.

"I think this is an ordinance that we need to take more than a quick look at," Folks said. "It needs a thorough review and perhaps some changes."

She said she believes a review could take some time.

"What I'd like to do is look at it within the next three to six months and take a look at what other jurisdictions have done and see if we can make some appropriate changes," Folks said.

Until any change is made in the ordinance, it is still enforceable and officers will be issuing tickets.

Violating the ordinance is punishable by a $500 fine, 90 days in jail or both.

The Michigan Association of Pure Bred Dogs Inc. is against ordinances that target a specific breed.

"We offer more of an education piece in the sense we work with a model ordinance that is promoted by the National Animal Interest Alliance," said Bob Darden, president of the association.

"It's a tiered ordinance. Tiering works with what they'd call potentially dangerous and dangerous dog categories."

The association has worked with more than 30 cities in Michigan, including Southgate.

The alliance advises cities to consider establishing two designations for dogs that are covered by the ordinance: dogs at risk and dangerous dogs.

The alliance's ideal ordinance would be one that would reward owner responsibility, that is uniformly enforceable, that provides for an economical approach to enforcing responsible dog law and provides for an appeal process for the owner that includes expunging a dog's designation.

In Lincoln Park, a committee was formed after a City Council study session on vicious dogs Jan. 18.

The committee is made up of four city employees and five residents. The committee hopes to bring a resolution to the council before the end of April.

The city's Police Department still is investigating the death last summer of a 5-year-old boy who was mauled in his home by two dogs.

Contact Staff Writer Lisa Yensen at [email protected] or 1-734-246-0882.

ECORSE: City looks to lighten vicious dog ordinance - thenewsherald.com
 
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