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City council buries pit bull ban plan
By MARISOL BELLO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
The Detroit City Council on Tuesday reversed its consideration of a pit bull ban in the city in the face of stiff and vocal opposition from pit bull owners in the city and the region.
Instead, the council is setting up a task force that will begin to meet the first week of March to look for ways to strengthen the city’s existing laws on so called dangerous dogs, so that they are taken off the streets.
The council had considered an ordinance, introduced by Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, to ban pit bulls from the city, placing a host of costly restrictions on owners.
It even would have required those visiting the city with the dogs to get a permit and force any puppies older than 8 weeks to be taken out of the city or put to death.
Current owners, who would have been grandfathered in under the proposed new law, would have needed to license their dogs, take out $100,000 worth of liability insurance for each dog and have the animal spayed or neutered, among other restrictions.
But after receiving an earful from irate dog owners and animal activists, council members said they would form the task force, which would be made up of city animal control experts, victims attacked by vicious dogs, dog owners and animal activists.
“I’m definitely more in favor of this direction,” said Dr. Angela Hines, a veterinarian who heads the city’s Animal Control division. Hines said a specific pit bull ban was not only nearly impossible for the city to enforce, it also would have been ineffective because it did not address the problem of other dangerous dogs.
Watson said she introduced the ordinance because she was trying to find ways to respond to citizens who complained repeatedly of dangerous dogs on the loose, particularly pit bulls, who attacked people and terrorized neighborhoods.
“Something ought to be done,” she said.
But she said the task force would be the best way for citizens who are concerned about the issue to air their views and look for ways to enforce the city’s current dog laws.
Contact Marisol Bello at 313-222-6678 or firstname.lastname@example.org