You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 7:24 a.m.

Ypsilanti Township residents must sterilize their pit bulls or face criminal charges

By Tom Perkins

Pit bull owners in Ypsilanti Township must have their dogs spayed or neutered by Jan. 1 or face misdemeanor criminal charges.

The Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees approved the second reading of an ordinance requiring pit bull terriers to be fixed in an effort to reduce the number of that breed being euthanized at the Humane Society of Huron Valley.

The 5-1 board vote included an amendment to exempt dogs not healthy enough for sterilization and a sunset clause allowing the township to review the ordinance's impact in two years.


Ypsilanti Township residents must sterilize their pit bulls under an ordinance approved Tuesday night.

Photo by

The township is working in partnership with the Humane Society which, through a grant provided by PetSmart Charities, is offering free sterilization for the next 15 months.

Officials said the ordinance is an attempt to reduce the number of pit bulls euthanized and control the breed's population, but is not an effort to address dog attacks. Still, they said, they're hopeful it will also reduce the number of pit bull related incidents in the township.

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

According to Humane Society statistics, pit bulls accounted for 36 percent of the dogs euthanized in 2006, while that figure jumped to 50 percent in 2010.

Ypsilanti Township accounted for nearly 50 percent of the shelter’s pit bull intake, while 11.2 percent came from the City of Ypsilanti and 7.4 percent from Ann Arbor.

Several Humane Society employees provided additional statistics to the board. Of 58 pit bulls recovered from dog fighting operations over the last three years, none were sterilized and only three were adopted out. Of the past 20 animal cruelty investigation cases, 14 were pit bulls. The Humane Society has had 70 pit bull intakes since Sept. 1, while only 10 had been adopted as of Tuesday.

“This is not some random shelter or some random city — these came from my shelter,” said Todd Sinclair, animal intake coordinator for the Humane Society.

Because a pit bull isn’t technically a breed of dog, the ordinance defines it as Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers or any mix breed exhibiting five out of eight physical characteristics defined in the ordinance.

Among the many concerns voiced by opponents is how the dogs will be identified. Law enforcement officials and animal control officers can issue citations and seize a dog, if necessary. If an owner disputes the dog's breed, Humane Society vets will make the final determination, and officials said DNA tests could be run.

Diana McKay, a Redford resident, established an organization called Wonder Bull to educate the public on the breed and promote responsible ownership. She told the board she isn’t convinced officials will still be able to determine a dog's breed and provided a handout showing 16 similar looking mixed breeds, though only three were actually pit bulls.

“What happens when the next fad breed comes along?” she asked. “(The ordinance) does not address what happens in the future, and it may very well push people to go further with those breeds in the immediate future.”

Trustee Mike Martin was the board’s lone no vote. He said his research on the issue led him to agree with McKay and others who expressed similar concerns. He said the ordinance didn't address strong opinions voiced over aggressive pit bulls in township neighborhoods.

He said the ordinance "is not a panacea," and the issues of backyard breeders, dog fighters, irresponsible owners and aggressive dogs are not addressed in the ordinance.

“People are going to think that their lives are going to be safer after leaving here and … in fact, they’re not going be,” he said. “We’re still going to have that problem in the community.”

Martin also said he found in his research that pit bull specific legislation has not addressed overpopulation in other communities, and the laws have been repealed in some. He said those who don’t want a citation or sterilized dog will simply give up the animal, leading to a spike to intakes and euthanasias.

Following the meeting, Mike Radzik, director of the Office of Community Standards, said he expects an initial jump in intakes because irresponsible owners may give up their dogs instead of having them sterilized.

Martin replied those owners will simply move on to a different breed.

A friendly amendment was added to the resolution calling for township officials and community groups to begin exploring how to address the larger issue of aggressive dogs, backyard breeding and other similar dog-related issues in the township.

Deneice Weatherburn, an Ypsilanti resident who works with the Belleville-based Buster Foundation dedicated to pit bull education and rescue, also expressed concerns.

“I’m worried (irresponsible owners) are going to stop taking their dogs to the vet,” she said. “It will increase the likelihood of that dog not going to the vet and is going to raise the amount of dogs suffering or being euthanized because they’re relinquished to the Humane Society because (owners) don’t want to pay a ticket.”

She argued that concerted education efforts would prove more effective and said easier access to sterilizations is a good first step. The Humane Society is located near Plymouth Road and Cherry Hill Road, which is far from the most problematic areas where residents may not have transportation or the desire to go to the shelter.

“My gut feeling is its not going to make the type of impact that is expected,” she said. “I don’t think that people who are irresponsible are going to care if there is a law or not.”

People on both sides of the issue cited successes and failures of similar legislation in other communities.

Proponents of the legislation pointed to San Francisco as a success story. Local Humane Society Director Tanya Hilgendorf said she spoke with Humane Society officials there and learned the number of pit bulls intakes has dropped since that city enacted an ordinance.

Opponents of the ordinance pointed to San Francisco as a failure and said it simply forced pit bull owners out of the city or kept dog fighters and breeders underground.

Derrick Jackson, the community engagement director at the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department, related several stories of pit bull abuse and breeding in his own neighborhood.

“Pit bull specific is what the kids in my neighborhood are breeding and trying to sell,” he said. “To do nothing in unconscionable. It is a very difficult and complex issue, but I keep remembering what the reality is.”

The Sheriff’s Department will be deputizing the Humane Society animal cruelty investigators and is considering temporarily outsourcing for additional assistance while one of their two animal control officers is out on extended leave.

Hilgendorf said pit bulls are the No. 1 breed euthanized, involved in cruelty investigations and running stray. She said the ordinance would provide her team with a greater ability to address the problem.

“We know it's not a magic pill, I don’t want anybody to think this is going to cure everything, but this is a tool, one that will help address the sheer abundance of these dogs in Ypsilanti Township,” Hilgendorf said.

“This is not a random breed in a random zip code … This is not San Francisco, we have a problem here, now,” Humane Society animal cruelty investigator Elise Ramsey said.

Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo said the township first went to the Humane Society over public safety issues associated with pit bulls, but that has evolved over time.

“Now it’s about stopping the killing of pit bulls,” she said. “I trust the Humane Society — they would not ask us to do this if it wasn’t necessary. I would rather try and fail than not try at all.”

Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.


Debbie Bell

Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

When BULLY people oppose ways to reduce pit over-population, consider ties to dog fighting. Even when these bully people do not directly participate in or provide direct assistance to dog fighting, their mongering of THE dog of choice for ALL USA dog fighters , their resistance to ANY ways to reduce pit overpopulation DOES directly provide assistance to dog fighters. "Inasmuch as dog fighting is illegal... as long as these dogs are bred, there will be pit contests to prove who owns the better fighting dog." These words were written by Colby, a pit fancier (fighter), breeder, author. With those words he also tells us how to end dog fighting. Stop breeding pits.


Sat, Oct 23, 2010 : 4:47 p.m.

"As far as people asking 'why pit bulls', the answer is because that's where the overpopulation is." This excuse makes no sense. It's still the owners. There aren't more "pit bulls" because those dogs are more fertile than other breeds. It's because there are irresponsible owners out there, who will ignore this law the same as they ignore leash laws. And, like Martin said, even if you're able to get to the problem owners, they'll just move on to another breed. People also keep throwing around the shelter statistics. Since studies have shown that shelter employees misidentify dog breeds 87.5% of the time, I'm skeptical (and it's not just shelter employees -- visual ID is inherently inaccurate). It's also important to note that the timeline of the supposedly booming pit bull population coincides with when the shelter lifted restrictions on pit bull adoptions. Many of these mixed breeds used to be called lab mixes or boxer mixes when "pit bull" would have been a death sentence. But perhaps more important, if the shelter is half full of pit bulls, that means it's also half full of non-pit bulls. What's being done to address the other dogs? Does HSHV only want to be a half of a no-kill shelter? As for those who think there are no other alternatives, here's a partial list:


Fri, Oct 22, 2010 : 8:48 p.m.

A grab for cash pure and simple.


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 7:37 p.m.

I understand the necessity to act, but this could take a lot of money to enforce. It is also of some concern to me that the fear and legislation will extend to other breeds that are too big and powerful in the eyes of an oppressive politician. Finally, locks only keep honest people out. If they're breeding dogs for fighting, they aren't particularly honest people to begin with. That sort of person would ignore a new policy, or law, or fine.


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 5:17 p.m.

I don't think this is a bad idea - far too many don't bother sterilizing their dogs and end up with unwanted litters. But why pick just on pit bulls? Surely all dogs should be subject to this, unless their owners register as breeders and are then subject to some form of regulation. Deeanna


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 2:20 p.m.

Here, the HSHV is both part of the solution and part of the problem. It would be a whole lot better for the group, and a lot more humane for the public and the animals in question, if they would promptly drop the BSL b.s. Up above, ypsicat has it right when pawing, "Why couldn't this ordinance have been applied to all breeds of dogs...? Although I will admit it's possible that narrow species interests played a role in motivating that statement.

free form

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 11:09 a.m.

It's ridiculous to me that so many here are trying to equate breed specific legislation with racism. To call this ordinance "a form of stereotyping that qualifies as cultural racism when applied to people" might be somewhat accurate but the difference is DOGS ARE NOT PEOPLE. I think we should worry more about ending the cycle of exploitation these dogs are subjected to rather than worrying about hurting their feelings. The HSHV is on the frontline of this epidemic. They are the ones who have to make heart-wrenchingly difficult decisions about the fate of these dogs on a daily basis. It's easy to judge and criticize their choices but they are the ones left to clean up the mess that so many greedy, heartless owners are leaving behind. Remember if you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem.


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 10:46 a.m.

Um, Walker101, you might want to look at some other facts surrounding the Denver ban. Numbers of dog bites might have decreased in the city proper, but their Humane Society is now one of the most overloaded, underfunded in the U.S., outlying cities have seen a huge jump in the numbers of pit bulls in THEIR shelters because people are dumping them, and the city of Denver has spent millions of dollars on litigations to date. So, there is "success" but at what cost? And I am still quite unnerved at reports of police descending on peoples' homes and laying seize to their very docile animals, all in the name of enforcement. It seems somewhat Stalin-esc to me.

Soccer Mom 100

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 10:36 a.m.

An article in another paper says Rochester Hills is looking into banning pit bulls. However, of the 20 dog bites reported last year, only 3 were by pit bulls. It is the owner that should be punished - not the dogs, unless they have had an aggressive incident. I agree with the comment that it will force owners to not get care for their dogs. It's great the Humane Society is offering free sterilization for this breed, but other measures need to be taken to get rid of the illegal breeders/"bad" owners. Those people would still find a way to harm another breed of dog or try for an acceptable "mix" of breeds.


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 10:05 a.m.

Kind of light banning hand guns, only the criminals would have them. Think these dogs aren't dangerous, just look around, they attack more innocent victims throughout the country than all dogs combined, many fatally. They need to be banned just like in Denver, after all the attacks they had no other choice. Guess what, no more attacks.


Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 4:35 a.m.

Sterilizing the dogs would solve half the problem. Sterilizing most of the owners would take care of the other half of the problem

selwyn marock

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 : 12:28 a.m.

The bottom-line is once again the dogs will get a bad shake.The law-abiding obey the laws the criminals do not give a rats arse.Why not create laws that go after the Criminals,oops I forgot Criminals VOTE.

Mylene J.

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:11 p.m.

I totally agree with this and am glad to see it finally happen. We are dog lovers and it really bothers us to see what these dogs are put through in some circumstances. I totally support this ordinance. Thank you to the board for doing whats right for our community.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:33 p.m.

On a separate note, KUDOS to MIKE MARTIN for being willing to be the one lone no vote and for researching the issue. If only there were more members on the Township Board that were willing to learn about the issues in detail and vote based upon that research and their conscience.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:29 p.m.

A complex and difficult issue... Who will be enforcing this and how do you? The Humane Society will be going up to dogs on the street to see if they are spayed/neutered? If an illegal breeder/dog fighter/bad owner is caught with a dog not spayed/neutered they simply give the dog up, get it neutered or get a new dog. The same thing they do now when one of their dogs is taken under other ordinances. On the other hand this is a step to do something and something has to be done. There is now an attempt to reduce the number of strays and abandoned pit bulls. Kudos for that. I hate the thought of the humane society being forced to euthanize so many Pitts.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:48 p.m.

Totally disgusted with the Humane Society for passing this discriminatory ordinance. They need to take the word Humane out of their name. I wanted to adopt a pit bull from them a couple years ago---agreed that I would meet them the next day to pick up the puppy. When I got there they told me they euthenized it ---gave me no reason! Had no reason---rather than allow one of the puppies to be loved and cared for they decided to play God. I have chosen to NEVER donate another dime or time to this place. Way too political!!!!! Needs more responsible leadership.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:17 p.m.

Why couldn't this ordinance have been applied to all breeds of dogs instead of targeting just the one? That way, Ypsi Twp could have been in the vanguard of backyard breeding reform as a model for the rest of the country and would have sidestepped the issue of BSL, which is opposed by the majority of animal advocates.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:01 p.m.

July 1st I purchased(rescued) a five week old red nosed pitbull puppy from a backyard breeder for $30. The poor little thing was half dead and I didn't think he would make it through the night, but with puppy formula and a lot of TLC he did, only to find three weeks later that pitbulls were not allowed in my community. I was told to "get rid of the dog or be evicted immediatly" I knew the if I were to take the puppy to and shelter I would be signing his death certificate and well I liked the dog more than I liked the house. I paid $6000 for a home in a different community to keep the dog. After only three weeks in our new home the puppy fell off the porch and broke his knee. Vet bills have totaled more than $1200 in addition to the regular vet bills and shots. My puppy is only five months old and has already cost me a great deal of money but the reward of having one of the greatest dogs I have ever owned is worth more than I could put a price on. I have 4 kids, 4 cats and even some birds and his dog have never tryed to attack anyone or any thing. The problem is not the dogs it is the STUPID people that do not act responsibily with the care and handling of such a powerful animal. Owning a Pitty is like owning Lamborghini, when you don't know have to drive. Passing this law will cause responsible owers to not be able to breed and not to be able sell to other responsible owner and it will drive the backyard breeders further underground and they will sell to other backyard breeders and dog fighters. This law will only further stigmatize the pitbull breed/s. If the dogs are not the root of the problem then sterilizing the dogs will not solve anything. Making laws that would put backyard breeders and dog fighters out of business and putting them in jail and not just a slap on the wrist seems a better plan. I plan to have my dog neutered not because of the law as I live in Belleville, but because it is the best thing for the dog. Sterilized dogs are healthier and live longer and are less territorial and less likely it run away. 75% dogs found dead on the roadside are unneutered males most likely out looking for love. I want my puppy to live a long and happy life as a cherished part of my family.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:24 p.m.

"... I am VERY disappointed that the Humane Society of Huron Valley would ever, EVER think that BSL is okay. They should be ashamed of themselves." I will second Stephanie's initial long post up above. The HSHV has been pushing a "quick fix" — or so they think. This atttempt is not only unethical, but almost certainly unworkable. And they promote a form of stereotyping that qualifies as cultural racism when applied to people. The reason for doing this, it appears, has been entirely political. If the ordinance appropriately covered all dogs, rather than targeting one breed (similar to now-abolished race laws), it might instigate a small rebellion among township residents. But the potential for resentment can be calmed by relying singularly on sensationalized perceptions of pit bulls. For HSHV and the pit bull adoption problem that drives this ordinance, it's easier right now to fall back on cartoonish stereotypes for a dog breed than to directly confront the obvious full human responsibility for abandonment and violence involving pets. Better instead to convince locals to project blame onto one class of victims.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 7:46 p.m.

Yes, yes, the owners' and politicians' lack of progeny and the rest of the world might benefit from pit bull sterilization. Certainly the rest of the world WILL benefit if these hapless and human-impaired dogs are spared the indignity of reproducing.

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 6:59 p.m.

this will solve the problem. anyone wanting to own a pitbull now will have to smuggle one in from outside the township limits. this will really happen, what a waste of time. i bet they'll be lined up for free sterilizations when the doors open.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 6:50 p.m.

Can we do the same for bad politicians? They are more of a threat than the dogs.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 6:09 p.m.

I have a 7 year old male Staffordshire Bull Terrier (a rather rare breed in this country). When I bought him I had to sign a contract that I would not neuter him because he was a show/breeding dog, although he didn't like the show ring and he has never fathered any puppies. When he's out of his fenced back yard, he is on a leash. And anyone who has met him would tell you there is not a friendlier dog than he is. I'm fairly certain the Humane Society has never had this breed turned in. I have his registration papers to prove what breed he is. So, why do they lump this breed together with Pit Bulls? Although I don't believe in any breed specific legislation, just because mine is a related breed, they are surely not the problem. Too many irresponsible people own Pit Bulls. But they also own other breeds.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 6 p.m.

Responsible pet owners will already have their animals altered; those who do not aren't going to run out and do it just because a law has been passed, just like other law breakers don't suddenly adhere to rules. I proudly own 2 spayed pit bulls, both of whom have earned their CGC, one of whom is a canine blood donor and therapy dog, and didn't just alter them today because a law was passed, but because of canine overpopulation. My 2 rat terriers are altered as well. I applaud HVHS for offering gratis pet alteration. But for the board to spend resources formulating this plan, and for law enforcement to have to carry out - well, that's just wasteful.

free form

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 5:58 p.m.

If you look at the numbers, this ordinance is very necessary. Like the article points out many times, this is only a first step in controlling the whole pit bull epidemic. Laws against backyard breeding, dog fighting and negligence need to be increased and ENFORCED stringently. Personally, I love pit bulls. This law is NOT about fearing these dogs or punishing them. This law targets owners, not animals. This is about getting people to act like responsible citizens. Whether it works will depend on how well it is funded and enforced. And for all of you saying this ordinance WON"T help... please tell us what will. Seriously. Please share with us how exactly we can deter irresponsible, lazy @ss, "hood rat" pit bull owners from the exploitation of these animals. I'm dying to know.

Jimmy McNulty

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 5:57 p.m.

I see lots of criticism here, but no alternative solutions offered to combat this problem of stray pit bulls. I encountered one by the Hyundai Tech Center on Geddes Rd who was not neutered and did not have a collar, just running across traffic. One trip through the HSHV's excellent facilities should be enough to realize that all pets should be neutered. I am in favor of this ordinance.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 5:17 p.m.

I do own a Pitt Bull who is sterilized. I wouldn't have picked this breed, but my daughter got her from a college friend who was leaving the area. Our dog is very sweet but she is a very different dog in temperament than our other dog who is a hound. She is more persistent though not exactly aggressive with other dogs. She is not friendly initially to strangers. I would not recommend this breed to people who aren't willing to put in a lot of training.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 4:18 p.m.

Lets see. We are afraid. Therefore we will cause harm to an animal who is doing our wishes because we can't control the animal that is creating a fightening angry dog. Along this path we will finaly shoot the cars that kill people. Lets reduce Government (police) and claim everyone else is out of control. Opps, this is about dogs; I apologize dogs.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 4:04 p.m.

"That's one of the biggest problems, more humans, more little mouths to feed, no homes, no medical care, then those mouth breathers procreate, over and over." Sounds like more than BSL needs to be passed in ypsi.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 3:39 p.m.

@ meermaid, an earlier comment by Stephanie said backyard breeding was llegal. I was merely pointing out that it isn't. Fish, dogs, chcikens, skunks birds, trutles and so on are still free to procreate at their own will and volition. I might add I hope there never comes a day where humans try and legislate and control innate behaviors in animals. Alas, If you would have taken the time to read my earlier post, you would see that I am all in favor of neutering and spaying, and I even proposed a carrott on a stick to get it done. And I will add that my feline and canine friend in my house, the former a rescued ferrel kitten from the neighborhood, and the later, an adoption from the HSHV, are fixed and microchipped.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 3:10 p.m.

treetowncartel: "There is nothing illegal about allowing two canines to procreate, whether it is in a backyard, frontyard or on the living room floor. Are you will to take care of all the unwanted puppies that result from this procreation? Yea, I bet! That's one of the biggest problems, more puppies, more little mouths to feed, no homes, no medical care, then those puppies procreate, over and over.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 2:43 p.m.

I adopted the sweetest dog from Huron Valley. She is what most would call a "pit bull". She was sad and nobody was giving her a second look until the staff recommended I visit her. She chose me. Now she is happy and playful and part of the family. Of course she is fixed as part of the deal from the Humane Society but it's pretty clear most people are wanting to just execute the breeds. I could have let that happen but she was just so sweet i couldn't. Now that I love my pet, I feel I always have to defend her life. How sad.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 2:31 p.m.

Once again, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 2:19 p.m.

Might be a better idea to sterilize the owners instead of the dogs.

Angela Barbash

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 2:14 p.m.

As many know, I don't agree with this new ordinance. I don't think it addresses the real issues, and I don't think the real problem people are going to follow this law just as they don't follow all the other laws. Now it's a wait and see situation.... And @ShadowManager -- nice job mocking me and our proactive citizen patrol program in West Willow. I don't breed my dog, contrary to your assertion. And the dozen residents that make up our patrol program surely would not appreciate your slight at their hard work in deterring break ins in our neighborhood. Come do a patrol with us some time and maybe you'll come to appreciate the impact we're having on the community.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 1:41 p.m.

Ah well so much for Ypsi Townships second most profitable "cash crop"....gonna be a lot of hungry mouths to feed in West Willow this time next year with no pit puppy


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 1:39 p.m.

A common criticism of pitbull laws always seems to be: "why are pits being targeted when there's other breeds that also bite people?" The simple response is that those other breeds aren't targeted because --- "for some reason" (re: intetional breeding and bad owners) --- those other breeds don't make up 50% of the dogs being euthanized at the shelter right now. There's definitely a pitbull overppulation problem in Ypsi Twp. Maybe if there were a rottweiler or Doberman pinshcer overpopulation problem, they might be targeted too...but there isn't and probably never will be.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 1:29 p.m.

There is nothing illegal about allowing two canines to procreate, whether it is in a backyard, frontyard or on the living room floor.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 1:08 p.m.

I agree with the Ypsilanti City Council home breading needs to be eliminated. Until demand for pure breed puppies is eliminated, it should be done outside city limits at large puppy miles.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 12:56 p.m.

Actually, given the graduated licensing fees (unsterilized dogs cost more to license in Ypsi Township), the township would arguably make MORE money from unsterilized dogs. This ordinance is in a large part about the numerous pit bulls who wind up at HSHV time and time again as strays while their owners refuse to sterilize them, regardless of the incentives offered to do so. This is not about making money for /anybody/. It's about cutting down on overpopulation of one very highly overpopulated dog in one limited geographical area. As far as people asking 'why pit bulls', the answer is because that's where the overpopulation is. I know I for one would love to see mandatory spay/neuter across the board aside from a (very) few licensed breeders, but this is a first step. Listening to the trustees last night, I think they are looking at taking the next steps to ensure all animals are protected.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 12:53 p.m.

justaposter- it says in the article that HSHV and Ypsi are getting the money from a grant from Petsmart. Also, backyard breeders will not be affected by this. Backyard breeding is already illegal and this does not touch them. Backyard breeding is "underground", they operating regardless of laws. They have to be busted FIRST for this to even touch them. And guess what? If their dogs are seized, they easily obtain more. If you don't know anything about backyard breeding and puppy mills, please do some research. This law will not do anything to stop them because it does not target them at all. Unless the township is notified of a "dog at large" or "dangerous dogs", the township will never know what goes on in your backyard or basement or in your house at all. Which is why this bill fails. The only power HSHV will have is to sterilize dogs who come into their building. Therefor pushing backyard breeders and dogfighters even more underground, making it more difficult for them to bust.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 12:40 p.m.

Mark, where is this money coming in from? The dogs can be sterilized FREE for Ypsi Twp residents. I don't see any money changing hands or anyone benefiting financially. The poor backyard breeders will no longer be able to make money off their pets, but too bad.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 12:29 p.m.

People have asked whether or not this legislation will be enforced, and by whom. The answer is it most certainly be enforced by the township's ordinance enforcement staff. This isn't about pit bulls or public safety. This is about filthy lucre. The township is playing HSHV like a fiddle in order to capitalize on hysteria and ignorance. People who dislike government will snub this law, and then fight it. Then, they will lose, and pay. Think about it. If the township wanted to protect pit bulls, they could have done it under prior legislation. Now, if they wanted to make money off of pit bulls, well... they had to do what they just did.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 12:16 p.m.

This is my comment from a previous article posted here on regarding this issue: Breed Specific Legislation is NEVER okay. Targeting a single "kind" of dog is like targeting a single "race" of people and trying to place restrictions on them. It is inappropriate and wrong. Not to mention, how is this REALLY going to reduce the number of unwanted "pit bulls" in the community? I'm willing to bet that a large majority of the dogs ending up in the shelter come from back yard breeders, who often breed for shady reasons and participate in cruel training methods and dog fighting. There is a reason why they're criminals- if you participate in dog fighting, you don't follow the laws in the first place. Why, suddenly, is this law going to be different? And how exactly is it going to be enforced? Are police going to knock on every bodies door, demanding proof that your "pit bull" is fixed? Where is the money going to come from, the residence in Ypsilanti, who don't even own a dog? The police department is already having monetary issues as it is- police are fighting for their jobs and there is NO extra money in the budget to suddenly try and enforce another law. Who is determining what is and is not a pit bull? What about mix breeds? There are over 25 different breeds of dogs commonly mistaken for pit bulls - if I dispute the allegations that my dog is a "pit bull", then what? Is my dog still taken away and fixed against my wishes, dispute my pleas that he is not a pit bull? What about medical issues? What if my dog is allergic to anesthesia? Should I be fined and punished for a medical condition my dog has no control over? Why isn't there anything mentioned in the measure about this? Once you begin to target a specific breed of dog, you're allowing a whole can of worms to open up. You're now allowing for possible future bans to come into play - what is going to stop the township from saying, "well, obviously we have a population issue, we might as well just ban them so no body can have them, to reduce this problem"? What is going to stop other measures from being purposed, not only banning, but limiting ownership? This measure TARGETS responsible owners and does NOTHING to address the REAL issue: irresponsible owners! You can't try to pretend that forcing people to fix their dog is going to suddenly make people give a damn about their animal: news flash, it wont. We need laws targeting irresponsible owners and people, not targeting a dog that can't control what the human is doing to them or with them. All or most major organizations are AGAINST Breed Specific Legislation, including the Center for Disease Control, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Control Association and The American Kennel Club - JUST to name a few. This measure falls directly under Breed Specific Legislation. You want to stop the over population issue? Then target the HUMANS doing the bad deeds and help educate the community on how wonderful these dogs can really be when they're popular trained, socialized and loved. People don't adopt pit bulls because of the stigma and misconceptions associated with the breed. Start by fighting against those instead of continually to hurt and mangle the breeds image more. I am VERY disappointed that the Humane Society of Huron Valley would ever, EVER think that BSL is okay. They should be ashamed of themselves.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 12:09 p.m.

@ Ricebrnr, no need to get so doom and gloom, these are pit bulls, not our civil liberties! This is the first step in preventing cruelty and suffering. Bravo!


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:29 a.m.

Since when are pit bulls the only breed targeted? What about other "dangerous breeds" like rottweilers?? Just because this breed is targeted due to increased news media, remember other smaller breeds can be vicous, but don't do as much damage when they attack people. I used to live in Ypsilanti, and now live in Philadelphia, where dog fighting, animal cruelty, and murdering of pit bulls is an even bigger issue. In a big city like Philly an ordiance like this might help, but I totally agree with other peoples' comments, on WHO and HOW is this ordinance going to be enforced without ending in more dogs being euthenized? It's ignorant people who think owning a pit bull is "cool" that are the problem. People forget that shelters and resucues spay and neuter dogs before they can be adopted-out to help control breeding. I have multiple family members who own one or more pit bulls and they are some of the sweatest and loving dogs I have ever met. When it's all said and done, it seems like this ordinance has potential to help, but was worded in the wrong way and is too radical for a 1st step, and I don't agree with it.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 11:07 a.m.

There is a simpler solution. Twea and enforce the licensing laws already on the books, and make it more costly to have a dog that is not fixed. Lets encourage people to have their dog neutered and make it way skewed, say $10.00 annually for a nueterd/spayed dog, and $500.00 annually for a dog that is not neutered. Failure to comply with the ordinance results in fine to owner of property, or responsible person, similar to the couch ban ordinance in Ann Arbor. Then all you do is hire a few employees to go door to door and enforce the ordinacne. It is pretty easy to find out if someone owns a dog by merely knocking on the door, walking into the yard or ringing the doorbell. At that point in time, the employee can find out how many dogs are there, if they are currently licensed and ask the homeowner to show proof of sterilization for each dog.If the homeowner refuses to cooperate and the employee can attest to the fact there was a dog on the property at the time they were there, the responsible person can be ticketed with a misdemaenor at that point in time for failing to comply. I do understand that legitimate breeders located in the township may be affected by this, but for most breeds the $500.00 would turn out to be the cost of one pup and maybe less. It is also a tax write off for the operation of that business.They could call it the Bob Barker's law.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 10:11 a.m.

Why my neighbors keep voting Stumbo in is beyond me.......


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:52 a.m.

P.S. I agree with sterilization, though. I think that ALL dogs should be sterilized until there is no need for shelters.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:43 a.m.

BRAVO! Some progress...I agree with this 100%. Thank You.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:40 a.m.

+1 on what ffej440 said. Who's going to enforce these? As other commentors have stated there are already other laws that can be used on these animals that obviously aren't being used. Didn't they just cut animal enforcement and police? So again, if there are laws already on the books but no one is enforceing them and there are less people to enforce them with... WHO is going to be affected by these new laws? The people that already have or already would have followed both the laws already on the books and the new ones. Those who haven't been following, that are responsible for the majority of the problems, how's this going to change their behavior in the least?


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:31 a.m.

The Humane Society is falsely informed about the drop in intakes in San Francisco. This drop is not necessarily attributable to the sterilization ordinance. San Francisco has a huge, active, and successful pit bull organization called BAD RAP that does an outstanding job of educating the public and rehabilitating dogs. They adopt out a large number of their shelter dogs, to responsible homes. In order to assess the success of a breed-specific ordinance, once also needs to look at the impact provided by volunteer groups.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:30 a.m.

Do you really think people that don't register thier dog with the county are going to bother getting them sterilized? More laws that won't be enforced anymore than the current laws is just a waste of time. The real problem is funding enforcement, this does nothing to help.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:29 a.m.

Just a note, the ordinance has nothing to do with registration beyond normal licensing laws. I was at the meeting last night, and it's clear that neither the board of trustees nor HSHV have any interest in banning dogs, or even "registering" them beyond normal licensing requirements (which, by the way, are in place as a public safety issue, to ensure dogs have rabies vaccines, etc.).


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:25 a.m.

This might indeed be a "freedom issue" = Freedom from stray unsterilized and possibly vicious dogs terrorizing the neighborhood.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:20 a.m.

The only reason for registration is as a first step to confiscation! Now where have I heard that before?...


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

Just more of big brother telling us what we can and can't do. I have a pit that is neutered and sees a vet yearly because I'm a responsibly owner, but thats as far as it goes I will not register my pet was the gov't, not their biz what I have or own in my house.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 9:01 a.m.

This whole situation is just sad, and to mandate that you must sterilize your dog takes away a personal choice. I do not agree with this at all!

no flamers!

Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:59 a.m.

Good next step. But Trustee Martin is correct that this doesn't directly reduce the immediate problem. I'd support an ordinance that required: 1) registration of all pit bulls within 60-day "amnesty" period with expensive registration fee (to pay for this program); 2) forbid all new registrations (no new pit bulls) after 60 days amnesty period expires; 3) seize and put up for adoption any and all unregistered pit bulls after then 60-day period (recognizing that most such unregistered pit bulls seized after the 60-day period would be euthanized); 4) remind owners who believe their terrier isn't really a pit bull that public safety is the priority and that they should register the animal if it is a close call to avoid having an unregistered animal seized; 5) state proudly and clearly that a) public safety is far more important than determine who is right in the debate whether this is a dog- or owner-created problem and b) that Ypsilanti Township will err on the side of action rather than inaction because inaction is an invitation for a pit bull to maul a toddler.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:48 a.m.

50% of intake from just one township in the county? Sounds like they go a little overboard with their pit-love in Ypsi Twp. Where's that Ypsi Twp. breeder, scratch that, "responsible pitbull owner" in her fake cop car, scratch that, "neighborhood watch vehicle", on this one?


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:45 a.m.

It's unfortunate the way some treat this type of breed. This dog was of course breed for fighting just like a hunting dog was breed to hunt. You can't take that out of the breed. This dog should only be allowed with responsible owners. Not some 15yr old punk kid who thinks it cool to have one. This breed takes a tremendous amount of training. I think the township made a good decision here, the problem will be its implementation. I do however vote for sterilizing the owners who allow these dogs to fight.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:08 a.m.

Ths is a good first move in reducing the problem of unwanted and mistreated dogs. It always saddens me to see handmade signs attached to telephone pole advertising pit bull pups for sale. I hope that some cretin does not get them for ill purposes.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 8:04 a.m.

After reading the intake statistics from the Humane Society, that was quite an eye-opener. I very mixed emotions on this issue. It really is about being a responsible pet owner. We all have seen articles/comments on parents who should not be...and the same with pet owners....some should not own them because they don't train them/raise them properly. If this is the law, then all dogs should be spayed/neutered.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 7:54 a.m.

Great job HSHV. It's an important first step to try and make a dent in this overwhelming problem.


Wed, Oct 20, 2010 : 7:49 a.m.

Considering the circumstances, I feel this is a necessary ordinance. Many dog owners, including myself, have sterilized dogs who get regular visits to the vet, dog tags, time for exercise or/and backyards to play in. Although I do a mixed breed and not a "pit bull", the ordinance could apply to me as a dog owner and I would be within the law.