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Posted on Sun, Jul 21, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

Free pit bull sterilization program may be extended

By Tom Perkins

The Humane Society of Huron Valley and Ypsilanti Township are hoping to keep a free pit bull sterilization program funded after sterilizing more than 900 of the dogs throughout an 18-month period.

The program was launched after the township passed an ordinance in late 2010 requiring pit bull owners to spay or neuter their pets, or face misdemeanor criminal charges.

The program was funded through a $72,000 grant provided by PetSmart Charities.

Jenny Paillon, HSHV's director of operations, said the agency is working to wrap up the report from the past grant and apply for a new grant. The program has been a success in Ypsilanti Township, where there is a need for free sterilizations and a large pit bull population, she said.

“A major roadblock for many people in considering spay/neuter surgeries is the out of pocket cost. If you have a practical choice of making a spay/neuter appointment or taking care of your electric bill, one of those two will obviously fall off the priority list,” Paillon said.

In 2009, 237 pit bulls from Ypsilanti Township were brought into the Humane Society. That number dropped to 135 in 2012 after the law took effect.

The number of dogs euthanized during that time frame also decreased from 139 to 58.

Since the ordinance was passed, the HSHV has seen a decline in euthanasia; fewer stray and surrendered pit bulls at the HSHV shelter; and higher adoptions numbers.

“The lowered intake numbers and our increasing rates of adoption are the metrics we set out to measure, and are both moving in the right direction,” Paillon said.

She also called the belief that the surgery will change a dog’s personality a myth.

“The surgery is safe, will not negatively impact a dog’s temperament and will help prevent them from running loose or scrapping with other dogs while attempting to find a mate,” Paillon said.

“Unsterilized animals are at a higher rate of having negative behavior issues, such as marking and running stray, as well as face higher risks of cancer as they age.”

Ypsilanti Township's ordinance requires sterilizations for Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers or any mixed breed exhibiting five out of eight physical characteristics outlined within the ordinance.

There was a two-year sunset clause built into the ordinance and the Board of Trustees made the law permanent in October 2012.

The number of pit bulls brought into the HSHV, either for running loose, being involved in dog fights or just to be euthanized, prompted the ordinance.

Residents who violate the law face criminal misdemeanor charges punishable by up to a $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail.



Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

This is a generous opportunity. But please do spay or neuter - regardless of your dog's breed. Cats, too!


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Coincidence that this article is printed the same time as the "boy suffers minor injuries in pit bull attack."


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 2:07 a.m.

@debbie bell As an owner of 2 pits, please don't try to speak as if you have any understanding of this breed. I think you probably have good intentions, but because your grammar and explanations of this breed are so poor, you are really doing an injustice to responsible pit owners. We aren't the back yard breeders that are common in Ypsi Twp. Just a bunch of thugs trying to make a buck who couldn't care less about the dogs they sell. The ones they sell will fight, the others they sell for bait dogs and later laugh when their more dominant dogs kill or injure these less agreassive dogs. These pit owners are the absolute bottom of the pile, and deserev what the law punishes them with when thay are prosecuted. the dog


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

@ypsidog, google "Debbie Bell pit bull" and you'll see she's just a troll who comments on pit bull stories across the US (Google alert?). I doubt she even lives in Michigan.

Debbie Bell

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

And your point is? Did something I wrote make you think that I was supporting dog breeding or fighting? I'm confused by what you posted. Here's my understanding of this "breed". When our dog rescue gets a call for rehoming a dog, the average non-pit is already spayed/neutered. The average pit is not. We have learned that this is because more non-bully dog owners care about dog welfare. The average bully dog is not a companion or a pet but is owned as a weapon, for income generation, or for the vicarious power, aggression and virility that bully dog ownership provides the human. Dog welfare and the health and behavior benefits of spay/neuter is not high on their list. Because pits are disproportionately not spayed or neutered, they are breeding and dying like flies. You cannot adopt them out as fast as they can and are reproducing even if the pit "advocates" mislead the public, saying that pits are just like other dogs. No one else says that their favorite dog is "just like other dogs." Pits are not just like other dogs. Proof is the FACT that with countless dogs/combinations of breeds from which to choose, all USA dog fighters still choose to use only pits. Pits are victims too. Stop stop making more victims.

Debbie Bell

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 1:45 a.m.

That's wonderful news. Thank you PETSMART. I'm going to stop by and buy something to show my appreciation for your Charities good work. If pit bully people actually cared about pit welfare, this ordinance would be law from coast to coast. This law saves lives and prevents suffering. It punishes no responsible pit owner as all his dogs are spays/neuters. If a lab mix is misidentified, no problem, just give her a free spay. Since pits are short haired, even passersby or neighbors can identify which male dogs are intact and which female dogs are nursing/breeding. Breeders of other dogs: know who is buying your pups and for what purpose. When in doubt, spay/neuter the pups BEFORE purchase, to prevent selective breeding for increasing reactivity and dog aggression. If you fail and over the decades your dog becomes the "next pit bull", your breed gets added to this mandatory spay/neuter law. That is unlikely, as no other breed fans monger their dogs as pit mongers do. Other dog lovers know that it is not good for a type/breed to become popular, as overpopulation and suffering and death follows. Care about dog welfare? Buy something from PetSmart, donate to this great local organization and to PetSmart Charities too.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

I don't think the pit bull lobby (and I mean the "don't ban my favorite breed, you know they used to call them the 'nanny dog' and they're great with kids" crowd, not the Michael Vick crowd) has the clout to get this in place coast to coast.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

"If pit bully people actually cared about pit welfare"-- that's incredibly offensive to lump the thousands and thousands of responsible owners in with the people who commit terrible crimes of animal cruelty.


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

Thumbs up.