Memphis, Michigan considering repealing pit bull ordinance

An ordinance in Memphis, Michigan prohibits “pit bulls” in the city limits, but Mayor Daniel Weaver would like to change that.

Weaver formally made a proposal to repeal the city’s pit bull ordinance at the April 15 city council meeting.  The mayor voiced his concerns about focusing on a certain breed rather than owners of aggressive dogs regardless of breed, and he presented a memo to officials outlining his views on the current pit bull ordinance.  In his memo he stated, “The truth is, when a dog attacks a human being or another animal it is the dog owners, and not the dogs that need to be blamed. They are responsible for the dog’s behavior.”

Ordinance No. 123 Chapter 110, section 9.63 states:

The City Council of the city of Memphis finds that pit bull dogs pose an inherent threat to the public health, safety, and welfare; therefore declaring it’s unlawful for any person to keep, harbor, possess, walk on a leash or allow any pit bull dog at any time within the corporate limits of the city of Memphis.

Weaver advised the council he’d like to see the pit bull ordinance changed into an ‘Aggressive Animal Registration’ ordinance because he feels aggressive dogs can be of any breed, and a dog that has displayed aggressive behavior should be registered with the city.  He further explained this move would help fire and police officials who respond to calls of residents because they would be aware before arriving at a residence if an “aggressive animal” lived there.

Other issues that could be incorporated into a new ordinance include sterilization of dogs deemed aggressive, educating dog owners on responsible ownership practices, and making sure dog owners know their responsibilities and holding them accountable if their dog causes harm, regardless of breed.

Members of the city council voted to send the issue to the city’s advisory committee for study and a recommendation.

If you live in or around Memphis, Michigan, please reach out to officials there and encourage them to repeal the city’s pit bull ordinance and replace it a law that holds dog owners accountable for the actions of their dogs, and one in which dogs are deemed dangerous based on their actions or behaviors, rather than their breed.  You might also want to send them a copy of the NAIA Guide to Constructing Pet Friendly Ordinances which will lay the groundwork for an ordinance that will enhance the safety and welfare of all who reside in Memphis.

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