Vicious Dog Ordinance Ahead for Lansing

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

Chris DeRose of Lansing has owned pit bulls for the last 15 years. His family's newest addition is 'Baby'.

"They're unbelievable. I've raised my kids around them and we've never had an issue," he said.

That's why he was surprised to read about several pit bull attacks in the city over the last year.

"I'm an avid runner," said DeRose. "Never had any of my dogs bit, I've never been bit, so I just don't see the issue."

City Councilwoman Jody Washington says there is an issue and it involves more than just pit bulls.

"When I was campaigning, I was charged by a pit bull and a German shepherd, so it isn't the breed, it's the owner," said Washington, who is the Chair of the Public Safety Committee. "Owners are training their dogs to be more vicious than before."

Recent attacks on utility workers have forced the Public Safety Committee to put a 'vicious dog ordinance' on the top of their priority list for 2013.

"We're trying to figure it all out right now as 'what do we already have?', 'what do we have that's enforceable?', and 'where can we go from here?'," said Washington.

It's still in the beginning stages, but Mayor Bernero says the ordinance should hold owners of specific breeds, including pit bulls, more accountable. That includes building higher and stronger fences and having certain types of pet insurance.

Jackson County passed a similar ordinance in 2011. Both Sheriff Steve Rand and county administrators say the numbers are down since.

"I think the ordinance helped because it gave some latitude to Animal Control officers and sheriff's deputies to solve things," said Adam Brown, Jackson County's Deputy Administrator.

Washington hopes to see similar results.

"I have no intention of putting this on the back-burner, nor does anybody on the committee," she said.

Washington also says the ordinance won't focus on specific breeds.
The Public Safety Committee will continue its discussion at their upcoming meeting on March 5th.


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  • by Brandon LaBrie Location: Lansing on Apr 2, 2013 at 04:51 AM
    My name is Brandon LaBrie, and my loving cat was killed by my neighbors two Pitbulls. Then mother Pit was trained to fight, and the second pit was the daughter. I am sick and disabled, and am fighting many illnesses and my body lives in a constant state of shock because of my health issues. Death is calling to me at every moment, and my cats where my biggest support base besides my mother. They would share their love, and would keep on living throw old age, and cancer. Sara, my cat that whom those vicious dogs went onto our property and threw her over the fence onto Hunter Park so they could play with her like a chew toy. Our other cat Tyler who died recently from two big tumors was hiding under our porch. I went out and stopped the dogs, but it was already too late. When I rushed her to the front of the house I saw Laurie Blevins walk casually with no concern. I believe that the only reason why those two pits did not attack me when I went to get Sara is because they knew me. I had to yell and scream at them a few times, and they almost did attack me. But for some reason they didn't. I also wanted to say that the mother pits owner doesn't like cats and would have her kill cats for fun. This is not what I am talking about when I said that the mother pit was trained to fight. The pit was trained, and has been involved with dog fighting within the neighborhood. Laurie is an informant for the cops and they let her do almost anything she wishes. I also wanted to say that Sara was 21 years old, and her poor old body was starting to have health issues. But with her big heart she would stay alive so she could cuddle with me when my illnesses would keep me from sleeping. I just wish that she didnt have to suffer such a horrible end. My health has exponentially gotten worse without my cats. I can not even ingest any solid food what so ever anymore.
  • by Elaine Location: Location on Mar 5, 2013 at 06:29 AM
    I say ban the dogs that have access to guns; there have been two stories in the past week where dogs have discharged firearms. I don't think it could be the owners negligence.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 3, 2013 at 09:10 PM
    Dogs are like kids. They need to have boundries and limits. Be abbusive to a dog or teach them to be agressive and they will be violent.
  • by alexandra Location: Jackson on Mar 1, 2013 at 03:33 PM
    It's not the dog, it is his/her master treats it. I was bit in the face by a white german sheperd when i was 5, so i wouldn't want that to happen to enyone. Dog's that bite should be put to sleep.
  • by Jennifer Location: Lansing on Feb 28, 2013 at 09:14 AM
    "...it isn't the breed, it's the owner," said Washington, who is the Chair of the Public Safety Committee. "Owners are training their dogs to be more vicious than before." This is a false statement. I believe their is a lack of training to make them more friendly, less aggressive, is the issue. I don't think people are intentionally making their dogs mean towards strangers; they just haven't trained them not to be.
  • by mike Location: lansing on Feb 28, 2013 at 06:28 AM
    Here we go again,lets just ban every thing that can hurt,dogs,gun,knives.bridges,food,drink,& o ya people,cars,don't go after the person causing it,go after the product.
  • by Harry Location: Lansing on Feb 28, 2013 at 05:56 AM
    Sounds like Washington has an axe to grind. She's pushing this agenda because she was personally affected by it. But I do agree, it's not the breed, it's the owner. Many owners are negligent in training their animals properly. What I wish would happen more than a viscious dog law is that there would be harsher penalties, including jail time, for owners of viscious dogs, and also for people who hurt, abuse, and neglect animals. Michigan is WAY too lenient. It's actually sickening.
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