We’ve got two very positive reports on the Public Safety Committee meeting in Lansing, Michigan this afternoon where a proposed vicious dog ordinance was to be discussed. The first comes from Mlive.com, and advises that the meeting had a great turn out, and residents spoke out in opposition to breed specific legislation as a “remedy” for any problems Lansing may be experiencing with animal control. That being said, the data presented to the committee indicates that Lansing doesn’t have a vicious dog problem. In fact, Jamie McAloon Lampman, Ingham County Animal Control director, said statistics showed a slight decline in the number of dog bites from 2011 to 2012, as well as a decline in the number of dog owners cited for violating leash laws. You can read the Mlive.com article in its entirety here.
The second report comes from Mary Dunham with ODOGS. If her name sounds familiar, that’s because Mary has been working on repealing Waterford Township’s breed specific ordinance for the last several months. Mary attended today’s meeting, and has this update:
I attended the Lansing Public Safety Commission Meeting today. They had a turnout of about 30 People. The commission of 3 people. Invited the City Attorney, Ingram County Animal Control, and a Judge to attend their meeting and share information. This is what came out of the information the 3 of them shared. There was only 2 dog at large citations issued for the year 2012, there was 137 non registered (dog license) dog citations issued for 2012. There seems to be a communication issue, between the police dept. and animal control. When a dog call is received by police after animal control has closed. Animal control is not given enough information about who owns the dog. So that the next day when they go out to investigate that call. They don’t know who to speak to and whether or not the dog is licensed to that address. So most of the time what is happening is, no one answers the door when they show up or they say they got rid of the dog in question. Then the investigation gets closed.
After listening to numerous people speak and the people they invited to share information. They decided that they need to invite a police officer to attend their next meeting on March 19, 2013.
They agreed that educating their community is something that is needed and holding irresponsible owners accountable for their dogs needs to be more addressed. Which means the laws that they already have in place, are not being enforced. They want to find out why and they also want to know if their police officers receive any training in how to handle aggressive dogs, when they are called out on animal related calls. It doesn’t sound like they are going to consider BSL or any other new law. It sounds like they are going to address the problem of current laws (local and state) not being enforced and adding community educating to that. Their county animal control already offers free obedience training for dog owners. Which a lot of communities could learn from their example on that one.
We were extremely hopeful upon learning of Councilwoman Washington assurance that BSL would not be on the table (despite the mayor’s feelings on the issue), and we are pleased it does appear to be true.
Thank you to Mary and everyone who attended the meeting and represented responsible dog owners. It sounds as though a great start was made today in working towards plugging up some of the holes in the current ordinance and making it stronger through education and enforcement.
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