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Michigan - Melvindale

Melvindale, Michigan, Code of Ordinances. PART II - CODE OF ORDINANCES. Chapter 4 - ANIMALS AND FOWL. ARTICLE II. - DOGS. DIVISION 5. - PIT BULL TERRIERS

Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 06/2012
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Statute Details
Printable Version

Citation: MELVINDALE, MI., CODE OF ORDINANCES §§ 4-136 - 4-148 (2006)

Summary:  
In Melvindale, Michigan, there is a ban on owning or keeping pit bull dogs, with an exception for dogs licensed as of April 1990. Such dogs are allowed, as long as the owner complies with certain requirements, such as confinement or leash and muzzle, $100,000 liability insurance, and an ID number tattoo. A violation may result in a misdemeanor conviction punishable by a fine of up to $100 and imprisonment of up to 30 days.


Ordinance Text in Full:

Sec. 4-136. - Purpose.

Sec. 4-137. - Definitions.

Sec. 4-138. - Legislative findings.

Sec. 4-139. - Pit bull terriers prohibited, prospective application.

Sec. 4-140. - Possession of existing licensed pit bull terriers.

Sec. 4-141. - Restrictions upon the ownership and maintenance of existing licensed pit bulls.

Sec. 4-142. - Destruction or removal of prohibited animals.

Sec. 4-143. - Pit bull terrier determination guidelines.

Sec. 4-144. - Violations.

Sec. 4-145. - American pit bull terrier standards. (App. A)

Sec. 4-146. - American stafford terrier standards. (App. A)

Sec. 4-147. - Staffordshire bull terrier standards. (App. A)

Sec. 4-148. - Identification of pit bull dogs (App. B).


Sec. 4-136. - Purpose.

The purpose of this division is declared to be as follows:

(1) To describe and classify the breeds of dog generally known as pit bulls or pit bull terriers which are determined to pose an unacceptable risk to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of this community.

(2) To provide for restrictions on the care and custody of existing licensed pit bull terrier dogs on the owners and possessors thereof.

(3) To impose a ban on the prospective possession and maintenance of those breeds of pit bull terrier dogs, so classified.

(4) To establish guidelines and procedures to be utilized by animal control personnel in implementing this division.

(5) To provide for penalties and sanctions for violations hereof.

(Ord. No. 495, § 1, 4-4-90)

Sec. 4-137. - Definitions.

The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this division, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Animal control officer means any person designated by the city to enforce the provisions of this division.

Owner or possessor means any person who either has a property right in any animal, or who has an animal in his care or custody, or who knowingly permits an animal to remain on or about any premises occupied or controlled by him.

Pit bull or pit bull terrier means and refers to any canine (purebred or hybrid) which exhibits those phenotypical characteristics which:

(1) Substantially conform to the breed standards established by the American Kennel Club for American Staffordshire Terriers or Staffordshire Bull Terriers; or

(2) Substantially conform to the breed standards established by the United Kennel Club for American Pit Bull Terriers;

(3) The standards of the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club referred to herein shall remain on file with the clerk of the city. Technical deficiencies in the dog's conformance to the standards of this definition shall not be construed to indicate that the subject dog is not a pit bull terrier under this division.

Possess or maintain means the act or ability of having or exerting control and influence over an animal regulated in this article, without regard to ownership.

(Ord. No. 495, § 2, 4-4-90)
Cross reference— Definitions and rules of construction generally, § 1-2

Sec. 4-138. - Legislative findings.

(a) The city staff has collected detailed and reliable data from many sources on the number, nature and severity of attacks by pit bull terriers upon innocent citizens of this community, the Metropolitan Detroit area, and other communities and urban areas within the state and the United States of America.

(b) Based upon this data, the city concludes that the existing pit bull terriers within this community constitute an unacceptable risk of harm and fear to the residents hereof, and must therefore be closely regulated as provided herein.

(c) The city has further concluded that it is in the interest of public health, safety and welfare that the presence of pit bull terriers be limited in this community to only those existing licensed pit bull terrier dogs, in order that the threat of this breed(s) will eventually be removed from this community.

(d) The city finds, from many reliable sources, ample evidence to support the following facts about pit bull terriers:

(1) Pit bull terriers were, for centuries, developed and selectively bred for the express purpose of attacking other dogs or other animals such as bulls, bears, or wild hogs;

(2) In developing a dog for this purpose, certain traits were selected and maximized by controlled breeding and including extremely powerful jaws, a high sensitivity to pain, extreme aggressiveness towards other animals, and a natural tendency to refuse to terminate an attack once it has begun; and

(3) Based on the statistical evidence that pit bull dogs are the leading cause of dog-bite- related fatalities in the United States, and other evidence in the form of individual experiences, the pit bull is infinitely more dangerous once it does attack; and

(4) The pit bull terriers' massive canine jaws can crush a victim with up to 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch - three times that of a German shepherd or doberman pinscher, making the pit bull's jaws the strongest of any animal, per pound;

(5) The breeds are almost impossible to confine without resorting to fortress-like measures; pit bull terriers can climb over high chain link fences and trees, tear metal sheeting with its teeth, attack through chain link fencing, tear loose its collars; digs under fences and walls, requiring the adopting of breed-specific restrictions on the care and custody of licensed pit bull terriers for the protection of the citizens of this community.

(e) These findings and facts lead the city to conclude that a modified prohibition on the possession, maintenance and harboring of pit bull terriers is reasonable and necessary for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. The council is fully aware that the breed of dog called a "bull terrier," usually considered to be of the same phenotype as the specific breeds banned herein, is not included within the prohibition of this division. The council finds that this breed is not commonly found or bred at this time in this state nor the United States, and therefore does not pose the same risks.

(Ord. No. 495, § 3, 4-4-90)

Sec. 4-139. - Pit bull terriers prohibited, prospective application.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to acquire, possess or maintain, within the city any pit bull terrier, as defined herein, except as permitted under section 4-141

(b) Any person who knowingly acquires, keeps, harbors, or maintains a pit bull terrier within the city after the effectiveness of the ban of the pit bull terriers, shall be guilty of a violation hereof and subject to the penalties and sanctions contained herein, except as provided in section 4-140

(Ord. No. 495, § 4, 4-4-90)

Sec. 4-140. - Possession of existing licensed pit bull terriers.

Any person who, as of April 4, 1990, owns and possesses a licensed pit bull terrier, shall be excluded from the prohibition contained in section 4-139 as to such existing animals only, subject however to maintaining such dog under the restrictions and conditions set forth herein. Upon the death, sale or other transfer of ownership, or possession, of such pit bull terrier, this exception to section 4-139 shall terminate and be of no force and effect.

(Ord. No. 495, § 5, 4-4-90)

Sec. 4-141. - Restrictions upon the ownership and maintenance of existing licensed pit bulls.

(a) Any person who claims an exception to section 4-139 by virtue of preexisting ownership and possession of a licensed pit bull terrier shall comply with the following requirements with respect to that ownership and possession.

(b) Shall provide the information including the name, address, phone number, city and county from whom or where the owner acquired such dog.

(c) Shall notify the animal control officer within a 24-hour period when the owner has knowledge that such dog is at large, unconfined, has attacked an individual or the dog has died.

(d) Shall notify the animal control officer within a 24-hour period when such dog is sold or given away to another person. The notification shall include the name, address, phone number, and city of the new owner.

(e) At all times when such dog is outside of any enclosed structure, fenced yard or fenced dog run, the animal shall:

(1) Be under the control of a person over the age of 18 years, and

(2) Be held securely by a leash of adequate strength to restrain the dog, and

(3) Have a muzzle over its jaws sufficient to prevent the animal from inflicting any bite upon another person or animal.

(f) All properties where the animal is kept, harbored or possessed shall at all times be insured with public liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage by such animal in an amount no less than $100,000.00 coverage. Proof of such insurance shall be submitted to the animal control officer upon demand.

(g) Pens or structures utilized for harboring or keeping such dog outside of a habitable structure shall have secure sides and a secure top attached to the sides. If the pen or structure has no bottom secured to the sides, the sides must be embedded into the ground no less than one foot.

(h) Any litter of puppies from such existing licensed pit bull terriers shall be removed from the city upon attaining the age of six months, or such puppies shall be subject to all other provisions of this division.

(i) All owners and possessors of existing licensed pit bull terriers shall have an identification number tattooed upon such pit bull, at the owner's expense, by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. The identification number shall be assigned to the animal by the state department of agriculture and shall be noted in its records pursuant to Act No. 309 of the Public Acts of Michigan of 1939 (MCL 287.301 et seq.), as amended. The identification number shall be tattooed on the upper inner left rear thigh of the pit bull by means of indelible or permanent ink. The tattoo shall be no less than one inch long and not less than one-quarter inch high.

(j) Any such existing licensed pit bull terrier who is determined by a district judge or magistrate to have exhibited behavior so as to fall within the definition of a vicious dog or dangerous dog under state law or other city ordinance shall lose its exemption, and shall forthwith be removed from the city or be destroyed, as provided in this division or by the terms of such law or ordinance.

(Ord. No. 495, § 6, 4-4-90)

Sec. 4-142. - Destruction or removal of prohibited animals.

(a) Upon a sworn complaint that an animal is a pit bull terrier prohibited by this division and is currently being illegally possessed or maintained, a district court or district court magistrate shall issue a summons to the owners ordering him to appear to show cause why the animal should not be destroyed or removed from the city.

(b) Upon the filing of a sworn complaint as provided herein, the court may order the owner to immediately turn the animal over to the animal control officer, an incorporated humane society, a licensed veterinarian, or a boarding kennel, at the owner's option, to be retained by them until a hearing is held and a decision is made for the disposition of the animal. The expense of the boarding and retention of the prohibited animal is to be borne by the owner. After a hearing, the court shall order the destruction of the animal, at the expense of the owner; or, in the alternative, at the court's discretion, order the animal removed from the city under terms and conditions which ensure such removal.

(c) Lawfully possessed pit bull terriers who reasonably appear to have become vicious dogs, as defined by state law and city ordinances, are subject to immediate seizure or pickup under this division. The impounded animal shall be held at a facility designated by the animal control officer, at the owner's expense, until such time as the dog is destroyed or removed from the city by order of the district court by agreement between the owner and the city.

(Ord. No. 495, § 7, 4-4-90)

Sec. 4-143. - Pit bull terrier determination guidelines.

A list of criteria and guidelines shall be used by city personnel in the identification of pit bull terriers and enforcement of the provisions of this division. A copy of such criteria shall remain on file with the clerk of the city.

(Ord. No. 495, § 8, 4-4-90)

Sec. 4-144. - Violations.

A violation or failure to comply with the provisions of this division shall be a misdemeanor. Upon conviction thereof, such violation shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $100.00 and the costs of prosecution and the imposition of such fine and cost; the court may provide that in default of the payment thereof, the offender may be imprisoned not to exceed 30 days unless such fine and costs be sooner paid. Each day that a violation continues, shall be deemed a separate offense.

(Ord. No. 495, § 9, 4-4-90; Ord. No. 557, § 4, 10-16-96)

Sec. 4-145. - American pit bull terrier standards. (App. A)

Head. Medium length. Brick like in shape. Skull flat and widest at the ears, with prominent cheeks free from wrinkles.

Muzzle. Square, wide and deep. Well-pronounced jaws, displaying strength. Upper teeth should meet tightly over lower teeth, outside in front.

Ears. Cropped or uncropped (not important). Should set high on head, and be free from wrinkles.

Eyes. Should set far apart, low down on skull. Any color acceptable.

Nose. Wide open nostrils. Any color acceptable.

Neck. Muscular. Slightly arched. Tapering from shoulder to head. Free from looseness of skin.

Shoulders. Strong and muscular, with wide sloping shoulder blades.

Back. Short and strong. Slightly sloping from withers to rump. Slightly arched at loins, which should be slightly tucked.

Chest. Deep, but not too broad with wide sprung rubs.

Ribs. Close, Well-sprung, with deep back ribs.

Tail. Short in comparison to size. Set low and tapering to a fine point. Not carried over back. Bobbed tail not acceptable.

Legs. Large, round-boned with straight, upright patterns, reasonably strong. Feet to be of medium size. Gait should be light and springy. No rolling or pacing.

Thigh. Long with muscles developed. Hocks down and straight.

Color. Any color or marking permissible.

Weight. Not important. Females preferred from 30 to 50 pounds. Males from 35 to 60 pounds.

Coat. Glossy. Short and stiff to the touch.

Sec. 4-146. - American stafford terrier standards. (App. A)

Head. Medium length, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles, distinct stop; and ears are set high.

Ears. Cropped or uncropped, the latter preferred. Uncropped ears should be short and held half rose or prick. Full drop to be penalized.

Eyes. Dark and round, low down in skull and set far apart. No pink eyelids.
Muzzle. Medium length, rounded on upper side to fall away abruptly below eyes.

Jaws. Well-defined. Underjaw to be strong and have biting power.

Lips. Close and even, no looseness.

Upper teeth. To meet tightly outside lower teeth in front.
Nose. Definitely black.

Neck. Heavy, slightly arched, tapering from shoulders to back of skull. No looseness of skin. Medium length.

Shoulders. Strong and muscular with blades wide and sloping.

Back. Fairly short. Slight sloping from withers to rump with gentle short slope at rump to base of tail. Loins slightly tucked.

Body. Well-sprung ribs deep in rear. All ribs close together. Forelegs set rather wide apart to permit chest development. Chest deep and broad.

Tail. Short in comparison to size, low set tapering to a fine point; not curled or held over back. Not docked.

Legs. The front legs should be straight, large or round bones, pastern upright. No resemblance of bend in front. Hind-quarters well-muscled, let down at hocks, turning either in or out. Feet of moderate size, well arched and compact. Gait must be springy but without roll or pace.

Coat. Short, close, stiff to the touch, and glossy.

Size. Height and weight should be in proportion. A height of about 18 to 19 inches at shoulders for the male and 17 to 18 inches for the female is to be considered preferable.

Sec. 4-147. - Staffordshire bull terrier standards. (App. A)

Head and skull. Short, deep through, broad skull, very pronounced cheek muscles distinct stop, short foreface black nose. Pink (Dudley) nose to be considered a serious fault.

Eyes. Dark preferable, but may bear some relation to coat color. Round of medium size and set to look straight ahead. Light eyes or pink eye rims to be considered a fault, except that where the coat surrounding the eye is white the eye rim may be pink.

Ears. Rose or half-pricked and not large. Full drop or full prick to be considered a serious fault.

Mouth. A bite in which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors. The lips should be tight and clean. The badly undershot or overshot bite is a serious fault.
Neck. Muscular, rather short, clean in outline and gradually widening toward the shoulders.

Forequarters. Legs straight and well-boned, set rather far apart, without looseness at the shoulders and showing no weakness at the pasterns from which point the feet turn out a little.

Body. The body is close coupled, with a level topline, wide front, deep brisket and well-sprung ribs being rather light in the loins.

Hindquarters. The hindquarters should be well-muscled, hocks let down with stifles well bent. Legs should be parallel when viewed from behind.

Feet. The feet should be well-padded, strong and of medium size. Dewclaws, if any, on the hind legs are generally removed. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed.

Tail. The tail is undocked, of medium length, low set, tapering to a point and carried rather low. It should not curl much and may be likened to an old-fashioned pump handle. A tail that is too long or badly curled is a fault.

Coat. Smooth, short and close to the skin, not to be trimmed or de-whiskered.

Color. Red, fawn, white, black or blue, or any of these colors with white. Any shade of brindle or any shade of brindle with white. Black-and-tan or liver color to be disqualified.

Size. Weight: Dogs, 28 to 38 pounds; bitches, 24 to 34 pounds. Height at shoulder: 14—16 inches, these heights being related to weights.

Nonconformity with these limits is a fault.

Sec. 4-148. - Identification of pit bull dogs (App. B).

The following procedures and standards shall be used by all animal control officers and patrol division officers in determining whether a particular animal is subject to the requirements of this division:

(1) All officers will initially determine why the dog is being considered for possible inclusion within the division. Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to the following or a combination of the following:

a. Registration of the animal as a pit bull terrier, as defined.

b. Identification of the animal as a pit bull terrier, as defined, by the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog.

c. Positive identification of the animal as a pit bull terrier by an officer of the department pursuant to the procedures set forth in this appendix.

d. Identification by a lay witness who has personal knowledge that the dog is a pit bull terrier (Examples: Owner has referred to dog as pit bull in witness's presence).

e. Positive identification of dog as pit bull terrier by licensed veterinarian.

(2) Positive identification of an animal as a pit bull by an officer shall include any or all of the following:

a. Verification of inclusion by comparison of the physical characteristics of the subject dog with the breed standards in appendix A.

b. Personal and professional experience of the officer in having observed pit bull terriers in the past.

c. Identification of animal as a pit bull terrier by owner, keeper, or harborer.

(3) If an owner, keeper, or harborer of an animal denies it is subject to the division, an officer shall not consider the animal within the parameters of the division unless the following conditions are met:

a. The officer believes the animal is a pit bull after comparing the physical characteristics of the animal with the identification material set forth herein.

b. The officer identification of the animal as a pit bull is verified by an animal control officer or if an animal control officer is not available, by another department officer after comparing the animal to identification materials, provided that any animal identified as a pit bull by a department officer whose owner, keeper, or harborer continues to deny the animal's identification as a pit bull shall be afforded the immediate opportunity to be brought before a licensed veterinarian approved by the city for identification purposes. The officer shall accept the breed identification of the veterinarian. If an officer cannot determine the predominate breed of the animal in question as pit bull terrier, the animal shall not be subject to the provisions of the division unless the animal is later positively identified as a pit bull by a licensed veterinarian approved by the city.

(4) All animal control officers shall be familiar with and consult the breed identification materials in appendix A and shall become familiar with the pit bull terrier, as defined, by reference to photographs, physiological diagrams, and breed behavior patterns.

(Ord. No. 495, App. A, 4-4-90)

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