Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)
At least 26 communities in Michigan, including Waterford and Grosse Pointe Woods, regulate breed-specific dogs. That includes 14 towns that actually ban residents from owning certain breeds, most often pit bulls, to prevent dog bites and maulings by the breed.
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is created when a municipality or a county believes a certain breed of dog poses a hazard to the public health, safety, and welfare.
Some municipalities and counties believe that certain dog breeds pose a hazard to the health, safety, and welfare of their inhabitants. For example, in the Melvindale, Michigan's legislative findings, the city asserts that pit bulls, due to the severity of their bite, pose an undue risk to its inhabitants. So, in order to protect their residents, municipalities and counties may pass an ordinance that prohibits certain breeds within their jurisdiction. These ordinances are known as Breed-Specific Legislation (BSL).
The most commonly banned breeds are:
American Pit Bull Terriers,
Staffordshire Bull Terriers,
American Staffordshire Terriers, and
Other breeds known to be banned by BSL include:
Canary Island Dogs, and
In addition to banning specific breeds, municipalities or counties will often ban dogs that contain some lineage of the banned breed. For example, a municipality or county, like Fruitland, Idaho , may ban any dog mixed with a banned breed that contains an element of the banned breed so as to be partially identified as being a banned breed. Likewise, a municipality or county, like Cameron, Missouri , may also ban any dog that has the appearance and characteristics of being predominately one or more of the banned breeds. While some ordinances, like those of Melvindale, Michigan , may create guidelines or may use American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club standards to help determine which dogs are banned, the overall vagueness in defining which dogs are banned by an ordinance is often what makes BSL so controversial.
Some animal welfare experts suggest blanket bans and restrictions don't work and endanger human safety by ignoring individual animals that do bite.
"They are challenging at best to enforce," said Matt Pepper, president and chief executive officer of the Michigan Humane Society. "They have not been proven in any community to impact public safety."
"... The Michigan Humane Society is against breed-specific legislation because they are ineffective," he said. "Enforce the existing laws that address animal care and control."
Michael Reaves, Port Huron director of public safety, said in an email the city has "a problem when dog owners do not control their dogs — regardless of the breed."
Why Breed-specific Legislation Is Not the Answer - Pit Bull Advocacy
Law would prohibit communities from banning pit bulls
Michigan Senate Bill SB741 would end BSL in Michigan
Link to legislation:
Make Michigan Next
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