Full Ordinance Name:  Code of Ordinances. City of Muskegon Heights. Chapter 14. Animals. Article1. In General.

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Primary Citation:  MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MI., CODE OF ORDINANCES §§ 14-1 - 14-9 (2006) Date Adopted:  2006 Jurisdiction Level:  Michigan Last Checked (local ordinances are no longer checked and are kept only for archival and example purposes):  June, 2012

In Muskegon Heights, Michigan, it is prohibited to own, keep, or harbor any dangerous animal, including pit bull, with exceptions for exhibition, veterinary treatment, security, etc, Pit bulls must be properly confined or kept on a leash and muzzle. the owner must post a "Beware of Dog" sign and keep liability insurance of $50,000. Failure to comply is a misdemeanor.

Sec. 14-1 Definitions.

Sec. 14-2 Prohibition.

Sec. 14-3 Exceptions.

Sec. 14-4 Pit bulls.

Sec. 14-5 Exemptions .

Sec. 14-6 Notice of keeping dangerous animals.

Sec. 14-7 Seizure and impounding of dangerous animals.

Sec. 14-8 Nuisance.

Sec. 14-9 Penalties.


Sec. 14-1.  Definitions.

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

Owner  means every person having a right of property in a dangerous or exotic animal and every person who keeps or harbors such dangerous or exotic animal or has it in its care, and every person who permits such dangerous or exotic animal to remain in or about any premises occupied by him.

Reasonable control  means keeping a dog on a leash no more than six feet in length and under the physical control of the owner, or custodian or such other person with the permission of the owner or custodian, such that the general public is protected in all cases other than while upon private property, or unless the dog is confined in a closed automobile or shipping receptacle.

Dangerous and exotic animals  means and includes:

(1)   Any mammal, amphibian, reptile or fowl which is of a species which, due to size, vicious nature or other characteristics would constitute a danger to human life, physical well-being, or property, including but not limited to lions, tigers, leopards, panthers, bears, wolves, apes, gorillas, monkeys of a species whose average adult weight is 20 pounds or more, foxes, elephants, alligators, crocodiles, and snakes which are poisonous or otherwise present a risk of serious physical harm or death to human beings as a result of their nature or physical makeup, including all constrictors.

(2)   Any dog or cat having a disposition or propensity to attack or bite any person or animal without provocation is hereby defined as a "dangerous animal."

(3)   Any pit bull dog. "Pit bull dog" is defined to mean any and all of the following dogs:

a.   The Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed of dogs.

b.   The American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dogs.

c.   The American Pit Bull Terrier breed of dogs.

d.   Dogs which have the appearance and characteristics of being predominately of the breeds known as Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Put Bull Terrier, or American Staffordshire Terrier.

Person  includes any natural person, association, partnership, organization or corporation.

(Ord. No. 98-517, 7-27-98)

Sec. 14-2.  Prohibition.

Except as provided in sections 14-3 and 14-4, no person shall own, keep, or harbor any dangerous or exotic animal in the city. A violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

(Ord. No. 98-517, 7-27-98; Ord. No. 03-542, 4-28-03)

Sec. 14-3.  Exceptions.

Any person or organization which falls into one of the following categories shall be permitted to own, harbor or have charge, custody, control, or possession of any animal described in section 14-1, subject to registration with the police department and approval of the city manager. Any party seeking registration under this article must pay a registration fee in the amount of $150.00.

(1)   The keeping of such animals in zoos, bona fide educational or medical institutions, museums or any other place where they are kept as live specimens for the public to view, or for the purpose of instruction or study.

(2)   The keeping of such animals for exhibition to the public of such animals by a circus, carnival or other exhibit or show.

(3)   The keeping of such animals in bona fide, licensed veterinary hospital for treatment.

(4)   Commercial establishments possessing such animals for the purpose of sale or display.

(5)   The keeping of such animals, the purpose or use of which is intended to provide security for commercial or business premises.

(Ord. No. 98-517, 7-27-98)

Sec. 14-4.  Pit bulls.

The keeping of a pit bull as defined in section 14-1 shall be subject to the following mandatory requirements of this section:

(1)   Leash and muzzle.  No person shall permit a registered pit bull dog to go outside its kennel or pen unless such dog is securely leased with a leash no longer than four feet in length. No person shall permit a pit bull dog to be kept on a chain, rope or other type of leash outside its kennel or pen unless a person is in physical control of the leash. Such dogs may not be leased to inanimate objects such as trees, posts, buildings, etc. In addition, all pit bull dogs on a leash outside the animals' kennel must be muzzled by a muzzling device sufficient to prevent such dog from biting persons or other animals.

(2)   Confinement.  All pit bull dogs shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel, except when leashed and muzzled as above provided. Such pen, kennel or structure must have secure sides and a secure top attached to the sides. All structures used to confine pit bull dogs must be locked with a key or combination lock when such animals are within the structure. Such structure must have a secure bottom or floor attached to the sides of the pen or the sides of the pen must be embedded in the ground no less than two feet. All such structures must be adequately lighted and ventilated and kept in a clean and sanitary condition.

(3)   Confinement indoors.  No pit bull dog may be kept on a porch, patio or in any part of a house or structure that would allow the dog to exit such building on its own volition. In addition, no such animal may be kept in a house or structure when the windows or screen doors are the only obstacle preventing the dog from exiting the structure.

(4)   Signs.  All owners, keepers or harborers of pit bull dogs within the city shall within ten days of the effective date of this ordinance display in a prominent place on their premises a sign easily readable by the public using the words "Beware of Dog." In addition, a similar sign is required to be posted on the kennel or pen of such animal.

(5)   Insurance.  All owners, keepers or harborers of pit bull dogs must, within ten days of the effective date of this article, obtain public liability insurance in a single incident amount of $50,000.00 for bodily injury to or death of any person or persons or for damage to property owned by any person which may result from the ownership, keeping or maintenance of such animal.

(6)   Failure to comply.  It shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor for any person, owner, keeper or harborer of a pit bull dog to fail to comply with the requirements and conditions set forth in this division. Any dog found to be the subject of a violation of this division shall be subject to immediate seizure and impoundment. In addition, failure to comply with the requirements and conditions set forth in this chapter shall result in the revocation of the license of such animal and the permit providing for the keeping of such animal, resulting in the immediate removal of the animal from the city.

(Ord. No. 98-517, 7-27-98)

Sec. 14-5.  Exemptions.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the transportation of such animals through this city, when such transporter has taken adequate safeguards to protect the public and has notified the local enforcement agency of the proposed route of transportation and the time therefore.

(Ord. No. 98-517, 7-27-98)

Sec. 14-6.  Notice of keeping dangerous animals.

Upon the written complaint of any person that a person owns or is keeping or harboring a dangerous animal in violation of this chapter in the city, the police department or their authorized officers shall forthwith cause the matter to be investigated; and if after investigation the facts indicate that such person named in the complaint is in fact the owner or is keeping or harboring any such dangerous animal in the city, they shall forthwith send written notice to the person requiring such person to safely remove the animal from the city within five days of the date of the notice. Notice as herein provided shall not be required where such dangerous animal has previously caused serious physical harm or death to any person or has escaped and is at large, in which case the police department shall cause the animal to be immediately seized and impounded, according to the provisions of section 14-7, or killed if seizure and impoundment are not possible without risk or serious physical harm or death to any person.

(Ord. No. 98-517, 7-27-98)

Sec. 14-7.  Seizure and impounding of dangerous animals.

The police department or their authorized officer shall forthwith cause to be seized and impounded any dangerous animal, where the person owning, keeping or harboring such animal has failed to comply with the notice sent pursuant to section 14-6. Upon a seizure and impoundment, the animal shall be delivered to a place of confinement, which may be with any organization which is authorized by law to accept, own, keep or harbor such animals.

If, during the course of seizing and impounding any such animal, the animal poses a risk of serious physical harm or death to any person, such person or persons authorized by the police department may render the animal immobile by means of tranquilizer or other safe drugs; or if that is not safely possible, then the animal may be killed.

(Ord. No. 98-517, 7-27-98)

Sec. 14-8.  Nuisance.

(a)   Any dangerous animal or any animal which barks, howls or yelps with such frequency and at such times as to disturb and irritate persons residing in the neighborhood in which it is kept is hereby declared to be a nuisance.

(b)   No person shall keep an animal in the city in such a manner as to permit such animal to become a nuisance.

(Ord. No. 98-517, 7-27-98)

Sec. 14-9.  Penalties.

Any person violating the provisions of chapter 14 shall be responsible for a municipal civil infraction, except as otherwise provided for in this chapter.

(Ord. No. 98-517, 7-27-98; Ord. No. 03-542, 4-28-03)

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