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ANN ARBOR, MI – Ann Arbor is updating its town council with new rules for owning dogs and other animals, while introducing some additional animal welfare measures.
The city council gave its first approval this week to the amendments to the ordinance, which will have to be finally passed on September 20th.
Mayor Christopher Taylor and Councilor Jen Eyer, D-4th Ward, support the changes following the recent passage of a new law by the council banning the sale of new animal fur products in the city.
The changes now proposed mainly deal with dog bite cases, but also extend an urban ban on animal leg traps to additionally ban body grapple, conibear and snare traps.
The changes also include fines of $ 500 and the removal of provisions on cruelty to animals as state laws are better equipped to combat these crimes, city officials said.
Taylor thanked the prosecutor for working on the regulation changes with the Humane Society of Huron Valley. He noticed the problem after some negative dog-on-dog interactions around town, he said.
“We have been made aware that dogs are not protected from other dogs under our current regulation and that this was an omission,” he said. “It is important that all dog owners maintain control of their pets and that these pets do not pose a threat to anyone, whether they have two legs or four.”
While that prompted the ordinance to be considered, the city, in partnership with the Humane Society, has been able to identify a number of other areas where significant changes can be made, Taylor said, adding that he is excited to move them forward.
The regulation changes expand the possibilities for beekeeping by allowing those involved in beekeeping training or research to cross the usual limit of two herds or beehives.
Other new sections state that no person may remove or attempt to remove wild animals from city property or a park unless they act on the direction of the city or state.
To address concerns about dogs, the amendments to the regulation include new definitions of “dangerous” and “vicious” animals.
A “dangerous animal” would be defined as an animal that has bitten a person “to cause visible trauma such as a stab wound, laceration, or other skin piercing or fracture” or “repeatedly assaulted, persecuted or threatened” damage anyone ”or someone else’s property.
A “malicious animal” would be defined as an animal that bites or attacks a person, causing serious injury or physical harm, or repeatedly biting or injuring a person or pet. According to the current regulation, city officials want to change, pets are not protected under this section.
The new language of the regulation states that an animal is not considered dangerous because of its breed alone, or because it has bitten or attacked a person or other animal that has attacked its owner or family, or if it has bitten or injured someone, who provoked it for no reason to attack their young.
Owners of dogs classified as dangerous may be issued ID cards if their dogs are not kept outdoors in an enclosure or kennel sufficient to contain them and within a fencing fence. Owners of dangerous animals other than dogs can also get a ticket if they are not kept in the house.
“With the exception of having a vicious dog, violating this section is a civil offense that can result in a fine of no more than $ 500,” the ordinance states. “A malicious dog possession violation is an offense that can be punished by a fine of no more than $ 500 or a prison sentence of no more than 90 days, or both.”
Councilor Erica Briggs, D-5th Ward, said the changes were important, but she was initially concerned about removing the section that said no person should torture, torture, cruelly beat, cruelly kill, or inflict cruelty on animals.
“I just wanted to make sure that others who might scroll through this in the future shouldn’t worry if they see us removing this language,” she said. “It’s actually a little counter-intuitive – by removing this language, we’re actually strengthening our ability to enforce these laws because we can rely on state laws to do so.”
Councilor Jeff Hayner, D-1st Ward, asked about the section where owners must provide their animals with adequate food, drink, and shelter from the weather.
Michigan law requires pets “to have adequate food, water, shelter, sanitation, exercise, and veterinary care to keep an animal in good health,” the prosecutor said, noting that the same law requires water for The age and the animal species are made available in a suitable and regular manner, but the sufficient quality and quality of the water provided is a case-by-case decision of the responsible animal welfare officer.
“Sufficient” is poorly defined and left to discretion, said Hayner. He had heard reports of the Humane Society and the animal control officials denying animal welfare complaints, stating that a dog was only entitled to water once a day, he said.
Occasionally an officer reacts and leaves, then a dog wraps its leash around a water bowl, turns it over and has no water all day, he said, begging the question of whether the city should try “enough” better define .”
Senior Assistant City Attorney John Reiser told the city council that he had spoken to animal control and that there was no minimum daily amount of water required, but different species of animals require different amounts of water.
“Even if we were to adapt our regulation, there is already a state law there that we certainly could not contradict,” he said.
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