Jackson Co. Gives Initial Approval for Pet Insurance Ordinance

By: Alex Goldsmith Email
By: Alex Goldsmith Email

Jackson Co. Sheriff Dan Heyns saw vicious dog attacks in the county go up last year.

"We saw the number of attacks requiring hospitalization rise in the county," said Heyns.

But the straw that broke the camel's back was the mauling of 6-year-old Tyah Norris by a pit bull.

Heyns pushed for an ordinance that would give his sheriffs and animal control officers more power to cut down on these attacks. On Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners voted to initially approve amendments that strengthen the existing animal control ordinance in place.

Under the law, pet owners who have a dog deemed "potentially dangerous or vicious" will have to buy $100,000 worth of liability insurance for that pet. That designation can only be given by a judge, jury or an owner's own admission.

"It gives the sheriffs and animal control officers more tools in their toolkit," said Jackson County Commissioner David Elwell.

The ordinance is not in effect yet. It still needs final approval from the County Board, which could come next month.
Animal trainer Amanda Keyser had some concerns about the loose wording of the ordinance.

"I'm concerned that the word 'potentially dangerous' could be used against people who have a certain breed but are doing the right things," said Keyser.

But Elwell says that this is a vicious dogs ordinance, not a pit bull ordinance.

"If people think this is a pit bull ordinance then there is a misconception," said Elwell. "This is about giving the sheriff the ability to increase public safety."


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  • by Anonymous on Apr 13, 2011 at 09:46 PM
    Wow. Sounds like the components of Breed Specific Legislation to me. Perhaps the federal government is afraid that we possess another tool to protect ourselves just in case they want to come and separate all of us from our families.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 20, 2011 at 05:19 PM
    So this is a worthless ordinance. The owner can get the insurance without the ordinance or be told by a judge after an attack to get the insurance.
  • by Sans on Jan 20, 2011 at 01:28 PM
    Anyone with half a brain who owns a dog carries the maxium amount of liability insurance. You should not have to have a special insurance, even renters insurance has a liability clause. Even if the dog is not dangerous. If someone causes the dog to bite them you are still libel. Therefore everyone who owns a dog should carry the maxium insurance allowed.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 20, 2011 at 08:56 AM
    The article should be listed as pet liability insurance.
  • by Casey Location: Michigan on Jan 20, 2011 at 06:18 AM
    Thee Unwanted They're not wanted feared once spotted Some say FIGHT! they're not right Some see attitude Others see gratitude Their a horrible creature But that's not their feature They love you Like others do Their worth much more Than some sore The Pit Bull Terrier Casey
  • by Casey Location: Michigan on Jan 20, 2011 at 06:14 AM
    Personally I think this is just a bunch of non-sense it's not the dogs fault that they have stupid owners who don't know how to love an animal and instead they mistreat it so it doesn't trust anyone.You always here about pit bull attacks but you never hear about the rottweilers or any other dogs that have attack and killed people. I heard of a Pomeranian attacking and killing a 3 yr old. People don't tell you about those. I was raised with pit bulls and NONE of them HAVE ATTACKED ANYONE. I think this is just another way for people to brainwash others into not liking the pit bull breed and to make it so no one wants them around. I'm only 18 and I know whats right and whats not. That's probably because I was raised with commonsense.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 19, 2011 at 08:39 AM
    Maybe the owners should be licensed? Have animal control visit homes for pet ownership. It is the trainers of these dogs that are the problem.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 19, 2011 at 05:25 AM
    The problem is not that these dogs are agressive, but that they are not registered and noone takes ownership of them. The county needs to lower the dog registration fees or put a surcharge on dog food if they do not have a fee. Most of these attacks are from dogs that are not registered.
  • by JRHowosso Location: Owosso on Jan 19, 2011 at 03:47 AM
    "If people think this is a pit bull ordinance then there is a misconception," said Elwell. "This is about giving the sheriff the ability to increase public safety." How does insurance increase public safety??? One should go and ask the families of those killed or harmed by drunk drivers if insurance increased their safety.
  • by Blake Location: North of Jackson where its safe on Jan 18, 2011 at 08:51 PM
    Might as well give that "TOOL for his TOOLKIT" since the JSD can not make the county safe from all the drugs and violence
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