GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Dogs are man’s best friend, but they can also get their best friends in plenty of trouble.
That’s why city leaders decided to make a couple of changes to the city’s dog ordinance. During a Nov. 19 City Council meeting, the council unanimously approved amendments to the Farms’ dog ordinance and animal regulation ordinance, “both of which are intended to accomplish the same thing,” City Attorney William Burgess said. Namely, he said the changes — recommended by Public Safety Director Daniel Jensen — still penalize residents for having dogs that run loose or bite someone, but now the violation is a civil, not criminal, infraction. The change means that someone guilty of violating the ordinance can travel internationally, Burgess said — something that may not be possible for people facing criminal charges.
“Traveling to Canada, they can refuse entry on a misdemeanor,” Jensen told the council.
In addition, he said it costs $175 to get a dog out of the pound — a fine Jensen said was “just excessive.”
That doesn’t mean bad dog owners — or owners of bad dogs — are off the hook. They face fines of up to $500 for violating the ordinance, and the city retains the right to destroy “vicious and diseased dogs” in the city. Owners should make sure their dogs are secured at all times — whether on a leash or in their yard — and not let their pets roam the city unattended.
“We’ll do what we have to do” for dogs that consistently pose public safety problems, Jensen said.
The changes were slated to take effect within 20 days after council approval.
For those with canines that play well with others and like to stretch their legs a bit, the city offers a dog park adjacent to Kerby Field for residents with dogs that are licensed with the city. Dog park passes are $15 per year and are available through the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. For an application or more information, click on the “Download Forms” tab at www.ci.grosse-pointe-farms.mi.us or call (313) 343-2405.