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Ordinance approved to prohibit shock collars in public in East Lansing

East Lansing Mayor Ruth Beier says she's proposing an amendment to the city code that would...
East Lansing Mayor Ruth Beier says she's proposing an amendment to the city code that would disallow electronic leashes in public in the city. (Source: WILX) (WILX)
Published: Jan. 21, 2020 at 5:58 PM EST
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The East Lansing City Council has approved an ordinance to outlaw electronic leashes and shock collars in public.

Before the ordinance passed, Mayor Ruth Beier said it would clear some confusion as electronic leashes were allowed on streets, but not in parks.

She said the ordinance prohibits electronic leashes outright in the city.

"I've told maybe 20 residents that it's against the law to have the dog off the leash, and they say the same thing every time: 'It's a nice dog.' And I say 'It's a nice rule too. You should follow it.'"

Beier says since she was elected mayor in November, she's gotten multiple calls complaining about off-leash dogs.

"What people don't realize is that even if you have the nicest dog in the world or the most obedient dog in the world, those dogs are scary to other people. We had a woman a few years ago that had a heart attack because an off-leash dog ran up and scared her."

Zane Nachazel, a manager at Soldan's Pet Supplies in Lansing, says shock collars and electronic leashes are used primarily for training purposes and not for restraint.

"If your dog is lunging at another dog, shocking them is the last thing that's going to affect them."

And he adds it's best to have your dog on a physical leash anyway.

"You should never have your dog off a leash...in any situation no matter how well your dog is trained, you never know what's going to happen. It's an animal. We're the same way. If we see something that distracts us, we're going to go at it."

Beier wants dog owners to know the amendment is just to help other dogs and people feel safe.

"That's all it is. It's not an anti-dog or anti-dog owner ordinance."

Since the measure passed, Beier said there will be a grace period where dog owners will be warned if they don't have their dog on a physical leash.

The first fine is $25; repeat offenders will pay heavier fines.

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