Flint City Councilman Sheldon Neeley hopes to introduce a measure to the city council in September or October that would require pit bull owners to register their dogs with the police. The penalty for not registering a pit bull could include confiscating the animal and fining the owner. In addition, owners of “pit bulls” would be charged with a crime if their dog attacks a person, and face 90 days in jail and a $500 fine
This is not the first time Councilman Neely has proposed BSL, and he acknowledges his proposal will receive criticism, but cites the need to hold dog owners accountable for their pet’s action. He further advised that his proposal targets pit bulls now, but “if needed,” the ordinance would be “broadened,” leaving one to wonder if he intends to add additional breeds.
In drafting the ordinance which has not been finalized yet, Neeley received assistance from the Michigan Municipal League, and he looked at laws in other parts of Michigan and the country that regulate pit bulls.
We obviously support the belief that dog owners must and should be held accountable for the actions and behaviors of their dogs, but this should apply to ALL dog owners, not just those who own specific breeds.
The current city code deems a dog vicious based on its behavior and actions, and sets forth requirements for dogs designated as vicious including being leashed and muzzled outside of a kennel, pen or house; mandates owners display signs reading “beware of dog” on their homes; liability insurance and registration with the city clerk.
FLINT RESIDENTS: This matter cannot be taken up by the city council without the approval of the city’s emergency manager, Darnell Earley. Please reach out to Mr. Earley and let him know that dangerous dogs are not limited to one breed, and designating dogs dangerous based on their appearance or perceived breed puts the community at greater risk. Ask him to decline to forward this proposal on to the city council.
In addition, it appears the entire city council is up for re-election in November. You may want to reach out to current council, as well as the candidates, and inquire as to their position on breed specific legislation.
Unfortunately, in the Sixth Ward, Councilman Neely’s ward, there is no alternate candidate.
According to the Flint City Clerk, the following candidates were certified and running for city council:
- First Ward: Anita L. Brown, Claudia Croom, Leon A. El-Alamin, Eric Mays
- Second Ward: David Davenport, Michael Harris, Jackie Poplar
- Third Ward: A.C. Dumas, Bryant Nolden
- Fourth Ward: Joshua Freeman
- Fifth Ward: Helen C. Johnson, Paul Herring, Patrick Julian, Bernard Lawler, Charles Metcalfe, Wantwaz D. Davis
- Sixth Ward: Sheldon Neeley
- Seventh Ward: Monica Galloway, Stephen T. Mintline, Alex Harris, Jerry L. Preston
- Eighth Ward: Benjamin J. Allyn, Joyce Ellis-McNeal, Victoria VanBuren
- Ninth Ward: Scott Kincaid