LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A new bill package introduced in the Michigan House aims to do away with breed-specific dog laws.
Advocates for the change say associating violent behavior with specific dog breeds stems mostly from popular myth.
A bipartisan bill package (HB 5039, 5040, 5041) introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives would prevent cities, villages, townships and counties in Michigan from enforcing breed bans. State Reps. Joseph Aragona, R-Clinton Township, Veronica Paiz, D-Harper Woods, and Penelope Tsernoglou, D-East Lansing, introduced the bills.
Officials from Michigan Pet Alliance say the legislation is a positive move toward the equal treatment of dogs.
“BSL can enter any community at any time. Any dog breed or perceived breed can be banned at any time,” the organization said in a statement.
Michigan Pet Alliance cited experts who say dogs’ breeds are erroneously attributed to bad canine behavior.
“A dog’s physical appearance is only influenced by about 50 out of their 20,000+ genes. Their true complex nature is influenced by many factors. We shouldn’t let breed biases and stereotypes influence us when it comes to understanding a dog’s personality and behavior,” Victoria Voith, a professor of animal behavior, said.
MPA said breed-specific legislation can have negative community effects like failure to address problematic behavior from dog owners, discriminating against responsible pet owners, putting unequal financial burdens on some, wasting public resources for enactment and enforcement, leaving a false sense of safety about reduced dog bites and failing to solve the problem such bans are intended to address.
The organization listed the following breeds as having been subject to such breed-specific legislation:
- Alaskan Malamute
- American Bulldog
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Belgian Malinois
- Bull Terrier
- Chow Chow
- English Bulldog
- French Bulldog
- German Shepherd
- Great Dane
- Miniature Bull Terrier
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Shar Pei
- Siberian Husky
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier