Michigan Senate Bill 239 would prevent dog breed discrimination by prohibiting
local communities from banning or regulating specific dog breeds.
Currently under Michigan state law, local communities are permitted to
enact their own ordinances to regulate dog breeds. If this bill were to
pass, local ordinances would no longer have that control.
The legislation however would still allow for breed-neutral regulations.
Breed-neutral regulations focus on problematic pet owners and individual
dog behavior rather than a dog’s breed.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Dave Robertson (R-Grand Blanc) who stated
in an interview with M-Live that “If a dog is vicious, it is because
of the irresponsibility of the owner and not because of the breed.”
The bill is now headed to the House for a vote and is being referred to
the House Committee on Local Government.
Dog breeds are characterized by certain physical and behavioral traits.
In Michigan, several cities currently have some type of dog breed-specific
regulation. Warren, Highland Park, Waterford, and Centerline are just
a few of the many local communities in our Metro-Detroit area that have
passed breed regulations.
The ordinances vary but the majority regulate specific dogs that present
a tendency to be more aggressive than others, or “dangerous dogs.”
Pit bulls and Rottweiler’s are often labeled as dangerous and are
banned by many local communities. Below is a list of some of the communities
that have specifically banned or put restrictions on pit bulls:
- Alma – Bans pit bulls
- Dearborn Heights – Restricts pit bulls
- Ecorse – Bans pit bulls
- Grosse Pointe Park – Bans pit bulls
- Grosse Pointe Woods – Bans pit bulls
- Hartford – Bans pit bulls
- Highland Park – Bans pit bulls
- Lapeer – Restricts pit bulls
- Muskegon Heights – Bans pit bulls
- Southgate –Restricts pit bulls
- Waterford Township – Bans pit bulls
- Ypsilanti Township – Restricts pit bulls
There has been quite a bit of conflicting views on this topic. Many individuals
believe the state should not be allowed to override what locally elected
leaders think is best for the community, while others believe banning
specific dog breeds, such as pit bulls, is discrimination.
In the United States, 19 states have provisions like Senate Bill 239, and
instead of banning specific dog breeds, they hold pet owners responsible.
Effective laws address the behavior of dog owners and the resulting behavior
of their individual dogs – similar to the idea of breed-neutral