Jackson Vicious Dog Ordinance on the Table

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email
Some pet owners might have to purchase extra insurance. Jackson county commissioners are considering after several vicious dog attacks in that community.

Fido, a German shepherd service dog at the Marine Corps Police Department K-9 unit, can appear as a friendly house pet but is trained to be used as a fierce police enforcement tool.

Jackson County has seen a notable uptake in dog attacks this year. Now county leaders are taking preventitive action with a new ordinance.

"We've had four or five attacks that were heinous really nasty attacks by dogs," said Capt. Steven Rand of the Jackson County Sheriff's Dept.

One of the most gruesome is still awaiting trial. A 6-year-old girl walked into a fenced area last August, where she was mauled by three pitbulls.

"She had bites and pieces missing from her scalp and facial injuries. I lifetime of scars that are going to follow this child," said Rand.

The new measure allows a judge to require owners to purchase $100,000 minimum liability insurance. One owner fears the new rule will allow neighbors to target certain dogs instead of irresponsible owners.

"I definately think pitbulls are being targetted. It's a dog people don't respect or don't treat it properly," said Jackson pitbull owner Betsy Klein.

The Jackson County Animal Shelter has had a long standing policy of not adopting out any of its pitbull breeds because of their unpredictable violent behavior. The new ordinance does not make a distinction between breeds.

"It has to do with all dogs not with a particular breed. If you go back and look at the bites and attacks they're not limited to one particular breed," said James Shotwell Jr., the chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

The ordinance outlines 9 behavioral levels including chronically running loose and threatening people or animals. A judge will use these levels to determine if a dog is potentially dangerous.

The Board of Commissioners will give 30 days for public input and have a final vote in February.


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  • by Steve Location: Jackson on Jan 30, 2011 at 07:29 PM
    The whole proposal is asnine, it would be far better to have ordinances that ensured the pets owner had the right mindset and experience to own a large breed. Most attacks come from dogs that are not properly socialized or exercised. If a person lives in a 500sq ft apartment then they dont need a rotweiller or great dane. Its common sense leave any dog on a short chain or keep it couped up in a small area with poor socialization and no exercise and your building a powder keg that will go off. Make the licensing policy require that ownership of a large breed means having to take a class that teaches proper socialization skills and the benifits of keeping a dog well exercised, and the prope way to exercise the dog. large breeds are working dogs and it is important to give them a since of purpose or they will act out if they are left to their own devises. I really hate to say it but some people should not be allowed to own certain breeds given their housing arrangement and skill set
  • by Guest on Jan 28, 2011 at 06:34 PM
    Maybe we could just ban all the people there....
  • by Anonymous on Jan 19, 2011 at 10:02 AM
    Cindy, You forget that most of the people who have these dogs that are making the news, think of insurance companies as a payday check.
  • by cindy Location: okemos on Jan 19, 2011 at 08:24 AM
    For the idiots who feel that certain breeds of dogs are not dangerous, GO DO SOME RESEARCH! Pit bulls, german shepherds, rottweilers, and others have tendencies that render them more aggressive than other breeds. know what you're talking about before "opening your mouth" or typing in a blog. Check with your insurance agent for a list of breeds MOST companies try to stay away from......
  • by Anoymous Location: Jackson on Jan 19, 2011 at 04:42 AM
    I have had dogs my whole life and while I agree; most of the time it is the way the owners socialize the dogs but with certain breeds there are innate qualities that are bred into them, such as dogs bred for herding (collies); or going down rabbit burrows (beagles). Some dogs unfortunately can be more dangerous because of the original reason for the development of the breed. While I have known several very nice pitbulls, did I trust them? No. Would I want one? No. I have owned 9 dogs nines throughout my life, 7 of them were mixed breeds and 2 were pedigree. I would take the mixed breeds any day; they are usually much more laid back dogs, so I do think it needs to be reviewed as to the types of dogs that have a history of more serious attacks on people. If a breed fits the profile; while I can sympathize with the owners; they still need to accept the fact they have a dog that might be more at risk to the public.
  • by Melissa Mannor Location: Jackson on Jan 19, 2011 at 04:19 AM
    It's about time. I live in the city of Jackson (not the good part) and pitbulls are constantly running the streets. I understand that most pet owners are responsible, and it stinks that they would be required to fork out extra cash. However, I look forward to taking a walk and not having to worry about being mauled by a giant, slobbering dog with no tags. I have worked closely with animal control in the past and have never seen a "friendly" pitbull. I say good riddance!!
  • by Lindsay Location: Lansing on Jan 18, 2011 at 08:29 PM
    So the ordinance is towards vicious dogs in general. Why did WILX feel the need to call it a Pit Bull Proposal? That is just further showing the bad rap that Pit Bulls receive from the media!! The story clearly said that it was towards any vicious dog.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 18, 2011 at 08:19 PM
    How about changing your news cast and website as the chairman of the county board of commisioners CLEARLY stated that it wasn't singling out pit bulls but rather dangerous dogs, no matter what the breed. Pit bulls have historically been known as loyal, family pets. They just get a bad rap from bad owners!
  • by Mike Location: E. Lansing on Jan 18, 2011 at 08:16 PM
    I think you need to quit calling this the "pit bull" ordinance (or proposal). Isn't this type of journalism call sensationalizing?
  • by Lauren Location: Lansing on Jan 18, 2011 at 08:08 PM
    The whole concept is a little over zelous. Dogs arent inherently vicious. Its the training by owners that create bad behavior. Fines should be imposed at time of injury and not just in case. In a state whose economy is terrible and unemployment rate is at an all time high, it is foolish of the leaders of the commnity to believe people can afford or would be willing to spend money on this "preventative" action. Bottom line, dog owners will have less money to properly train their dogs if they are required to buy liability insurance, in addition to the potential for an increase in the amount of dogs we will expect to see in the shelters. Lets focus on more important issues of the state and its residents.
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