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Farms looks to add teeth to dog, animal control ordinances

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 1, 2015


GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Officials are considering possible changes to the city’s dog and animal control ordinances.

During a meeting June 8, the Farms City Council unanimously voted to set July 13 as a public hearing date to consider potential amendments to those ordinances.

Although those amendments were still being hammered out at press time, City Attorney William Burgess said the city was “proposing a tweak to the penalty portion” of both the dog and animal control ordinances.

In November 2012, the City Council amended its dog ordinance and animal control ordinances. One of the major changes was that a resident whose dog got loose and bit someone would face a civil charge instead of a criminal charge. Now, though, Burgess said officials are looking at restoring the possibility of charging someone with a misdemeanor “for egregious violations,” such as a pet attack that results in injury. A misdemeanor charge would carry with it a possible sentence of up to 30 days behind bars, Burgess said.

The proposed amendments follow a dog attack this spring that left a Farms woman injured after a dog got loose from its yard and mauled her leg, requiring her to get immediate medical treatment at a nearby hospital. The dog was put to sleep with permission from its owner.

Although the dog in that attack was a pit bull, Public Safety Director Daniel Jensen said he’s not in favor of a breed-specific ban, noting that any dog can be dangerous.

“We don’t want a pit bull ordinance — it’s not enough,” he said. “We don’t want any vicious dogs.”

Other city officials have echoed that sentiment, and animal experts agreed.

Grosse Pointe Animal Adoption Society Executive Director Corinne Martin, a Farms resident, said that breed-specific bans are a bad idea.

“I’m not a proponent of a breed ban, but I am concerned about any dogs that are dangerous,” said Martin, who has successfully adopted out dozens of gentle pit bulls and pit bull mixes through the nonprofit animal rescue group.

At press time, the agenda for the July 13 City Council meeting was not yet available. For an agenda or more information, visit or call (313) 885-6600.