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Old 10-25-03, 08:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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SCARY Michigan animal laws

New pet laws for Ann Arbor in MI.
this is from

New rules for pets proposed

Changes on hold due to city officials' concerns over enforcement

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

News Staff Reporter

Ann Arbor residents who walk their dogs in public without "suitable equipment" to pick up after them could be ticketed and fined under proposed sweeping changes to the city's animal ordinance.

The revised ordinance includes a ban against keeping reptiles as domestic pets and would make it illegal to separate kittens and puppies from their mothers before they reach 8 weeks old.

It would also require that pets be given "human companionship" and not be left unattended for 24 consecutive hours.

At a public hearing Monday night, the City Council, by a 6-5 vote, postponed a decision on the revised ordinance after council members said they needed more time to review the proposed new rules.

City Council Member Mike Reid, D-2nd Ward, said if the changes are to be taken seriously, it will cost money for enforcement.

"How are we going to fund all of this?" Reid asked after the meeting. "Who is going to pay for the administrative costs? Or are we left with an ordinance with no teeth?"

The revised ordinance originally included language that would have outlawed keeping animals at schools because of health concerns and because critics say the animals end up being unwanted.

Council Member Heidi Herrell agreed to remove that language if it stood in the way of the council approving the ordinance.

"It's mostly common sense and we've written it down," said Herrell, D-3rd Ward, about the revisions, recommended by a task force that she led.

The 38-page, revised ordinance could be passed at the next meeting Nov. 6. That will be Herrell's final meeting. Herrell, who is well known for her animal activism, is stepping down after eight years on the council.

Monday night's public hearing was kept open and will resume Nov. 6.

This ordinance amendment is considered Herrell's last hurrah. The changes she proposed were wide-ranging and dramatic:

Any motorist who injured an animal would be required to call the police or the Humane Society. Herrell said that way an official could come out and put the animal "out of its suffering."

People would be required to tell the Humane Society about any stray animals they take in.

Dogs and cats under the age of 8 weeks couldn't be separated from their mothers, except to be given to the Humane Society.

Dogs couldn't be kept in a fenced area of less than 150 square feet of open space. Animals would have to be kept in an enclosed passenger compartment inside the car or within an "enclosing device" if kept outside the car while traveling.

Wolf-dog crossbreeds and animals taken from the wild would not be allowed as domestic pets.

No person could possess more than 12 domestic animals, excluding fish.

"Dangerous" dogs would be classified Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. There are specific guidelines on what a dog has to do to be classified and what the consequences are. The higher the number, the more dangerous the dog. For example, a Level 3 dog would be one that has bitten or attacked a person on two or more occasions, caused serious injury or death to a person, caused serious injury or death to another dog by attacking it while the other dog is on the property of its owner or under control of its guardian, or one that has caused any physical injury to more than one person during a single incident. Immediate impoundment and euthanasia are possibilities for a Level 3 dog.

The ordinance includes a schedule of fines for violations, which include both civil infractions and misdemeanor criminal offenses. For instance, failure to carry equipment to pick up after your dog after it does its business would be a civil infraction with a $50 fine for first offenders.

The people responsible for enforcing the ordinance expressed concern about whether they have the staff and resources needed to follow up on the changes.

"If it leads to significant increases for calls for service in this area, I have no additional resources other than my two animal control officers," Police Chief Dan Oates said.

Josephine Kelsey, the executive director of the Humane Society of Huron Valley, said she supports the ordinance in principle "but there is a lot of work to be done."

Kelsey told the council members on Monday that the Humane Society doesn't have the money to follow up on the extra duties called for in the ordinance.

"We simply do not have the funds," Kelsey said.

City Council Member Joan Lowenstein, D-2nd Ward, said she supported the changes in the ordinance and was educated by a lot of the material Herrell presented on the dangers of keeping some animals as pets, such as reptiles.

Mayor John Hieftje cast the deciding vote to postpone the vote.

"I have some concerns," Hieftje said. "I was happy to see it postponed."

After the meeting, Herrell broke down in tears while discussing the disappointment of not being able to get it passed.

Tom Gantert can be reached at or (734) 994-6701.


It sounds like herp keepers are in trouble in michigan, and did you see the laws on the minimum size lot for a dog? I would suggest writting the city council to complain/educate the council on herp info.

Also some of the stuff sounds suspiciously like brian's fears are coming true. Who's ever left a cat for a weekend? No more mice ect at school. animals have to be restrained in a vehical (my dog loves to stick his head out the window).
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