Grosse Pointe Woods proposes amendment to vicious dog ordinance

Print More

Grosse Pointe Woods City Administrator Frank Schulte laid the foundations for an amendment to the Vicious Dog Ordinance at a Committee-of-the-Whole meeting on June 20. This proposal would streamline the process when a dog attack occurs and eliminate unnecessary court hearings.

“I felt it was a redundant job for me to do,” said Schulte. “We hold court hearings every three weeks anyway.”

Schulte said that in the event of a dog bite or attack, the process for city administration is complicated. When an animal is involved in an attack and a ticket is written by a public safety officer, there are multiple meetings and follow-up hearings until a resolution is reached. 

“Instead of having multiple hearings with the city administrator, it excludes them and puts it right to where the final decisions are made anyway, which is municipal court,” said councilmember Kenneth Gafa.

The amendment also says that if a dog is involved in an attack, it is to be kept in the house, which must have a lockable gate leading to the backyard. Between the time the ticket is issued and the hearing, the dog can only go outside to relieve itself but must be kept on a leash and be with the owner or another adult.

There have been four cases of vicious dog attacks in Grosse Pointe Woods this year. 

“During the summer time, cases increase,” said Schulte. “But I don’t know what the average is, on the dog bites.”

The license and proof of vaccination that dogs in Grosse Pointe Woods must wear.

There is currently a city ordinance in place that prohibits residents from owning any dog breeds that are considered vicious, and some breeds even have a zero tolerance policy, like pitbulls. Pets over 16 weeks old are also required to be licensed and vaccinated annually, and Schulte said he believes more people are compliant with that rule than not.

“This is definitely something I would be in favor of,” said Earl Doherty, a longtime pet owner and Grosse Pointe Woods resident. “Cutting down on unnecessary hearings and meetings and saving money is always a good thing.”

Doherty said he thinks the ordinances help to create a safer community. But, he also thought that cases like this should be taken on a dog-by dog basis, as some breeds have an unfair reputation.

“Anytime you have a new or revised ordinance, the revision goes through council,” said Gafa. “The first reading is held where it is put out for the public to comment or review. Then it goes to a second reading at another council meeting where it is put up for a vote.”

In a brief discussion following Schulte’s proposal, three six city council members that were present briefly spoke in favor of the amendment and none spoke against it. 

Gafa said the first reading of the draft of the new ordinance at the July 11 meeting and the second reading will be at the July 18 meeting where it will be voted on by the council, and this process, including the ordinance taking effect, will take about a month.

Comments are closed.