Royal Oak, MI: Meeting Tonight!

Discuss Breed Specific Legislation and local county laws on pit bull ownership.
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Royal Oak, MI: Meeting Tonight!

Postby WonderBull » Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:25 am

Channel 4 News reported that Royal Oak would be discussing a "problem with pit bulls" at this meeting. The article below states they are looking at a non-breed specific update. Council agenda link, notes and contact info are below the article.

Posted: Sept. 21, 2009
ROYAL OAK: Dangerous dogs on agenda

The City Commission is expected to discuss vicious dogs and their impact in the community during its meeting tonight.

Commissioner Terry Drinkwine requested the discussion and City Manager Don Johnson provided a report on the 5,311 licensed dogs in Royal Oak.

"Pit bulls account for only 1.7% of licensed dogs in Royal Oak but were responsible for about 35% of reported dog bite incidents this year," Johnson's report says. "It appears we have a very real and growing problem with this breed."

Johnson noted, however, that pit bulls aren't a recognized breed and said the term refers to several kinds of terriers.

The report, with input from City Attorney David Gillam, suggests that the city's best approach to pit bulls may be to stiffen its existing ordinance "in regards to all vicious animals" rather than regulating one or more troublesome breeds.

The Eastpointe City Council is expected to introduce a revised animal control ordinance Tuesday that would put restrictions on vicious dogs without being breed-specific. And Mt. Clemens' ordinance on dangerous animals went into effect Aug. 13.

The council is to meet at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall, 211 Williams St.


Report on Vicious Dogs, as requested by Commissioner Drinkwine
Number 9 on tonight's agenda:

This is the attachment from the agenda:

Commission Letter # :CC Letter #284-09
Commission Meeting: 9/21/2009
RE: Report on Vicious Dogs
September 18, 2009

The Honorable Mayor and Members of City Commission

Commissioner Drinkwine requested we include a discussion of vicious dogs on the Sept.
21 agenda. For backup material, I asked Chief Jahnke to provide a report on incidents
involving vicious dogs and we are resubmitting a report City Attorney Gillam prepared in
January of this year.

The City Clerk reports that Royal Oak has 5,311 licensed dogs. Of those, 650 or slightly
over 12% of the total are breeds that some communities subject to special regulation or
outright banning. These include Pit Bull (or Staffordshire) Terriers (95), Doberman
Pinschers (44), Rottweilers (99) and German Shepherds (412).

Comparing these numbers to the numbers in the Police Department report, it is
significant to note that Pit Bulls account for only 1.7% of licensed dogs in Royal Oak but
were responsible for about 35% of reported dog bite incidents this year. It appears we
have a very real and growing problem with this breed.

However, there are numerous issues involved with breed specific regulation not the least
of which is simply identifying a dog’s breed. “Pit Bull” isn’t a recognized breed at all but
is rather a slang term used to refer to several breeds including American Pit Bull
Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. It is often
incorrectly used to refer to other breeds as well. To compound this problem, most dogs
are not purebred and most owners don’t really know the linage of their animal.
We may be better served to approach the problem by strengthening the ordnance in
regards to all vicious animals rather than attempting to single out specific breeds.

Respectfully submitted,
Donald E. Johnson
City Manager

City Commission

City Mayor:

Jim Ellison

City Commissioners:

Michael Andrzejak

Terry Drinkwine

Carlo P Ginotti

Gary Lelito

Charles Semchena


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Re: Royal Oak, MI: Meeting Tonight!

Postby Nickdawg » Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:46 am

I'd love to know what their actual liscensing rate is, b/c if it is minimal compared to the actual number of owned dogs, it is irrelevant.

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Re: Royal Oak, MI: Meeting Tonight!

Postby WonderBull » Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:20 pm

Update from the 11 o'clock evening news on Ch. 4.

Royal Oak officials will have another meeting in two weeks regarding dangerous dogs and their impact. After listening to what residents had to say during today's city commission meeting, officials say they don't plan to target specific breeds. But they do want to have an updated ordinance in place for all vicious animals. Officials also plan to look into ordinances in other communities.


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Re: Royal Oak, MI: Meeting Tonight!

Postby heather » Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:02 pm

Dog law to get more teeth
Published: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

By Catherine Kavanaugh, Daily Tribune Staff Writer

ROYAL OAK — On the heels of two pit bull terrier attacks, elected officials asked the city's legal staff to recommend ways to strengthen the vicious dog ordinance without banning any specific breeds.

City Attorney David Gillam said he will research what other communities do with regard to fencing and muzzle requirements for dogs that show a tendency to bite.

Currently, Royal Oak's ordinances limit a household to three dogs, prohibit dogs from running at large, require owners to clean up after their pets, and ban residents from having a vicious dog.

"A dog that has bitten or harmed a person is considered to be a vicious dog," Gillam said.

However, there are exceptions, such as when a dog bites someone breaking into a house, he added.

This month, the City Commission heard from residents who witnessed unprovoked dog attacks and the bloody aftermath. A Gainsborough Avenue woman said her sleeping cat was mauled to death by a pit bull that went into her back yard, and a South Laurel Avenue man said he helped a neighbor injured while trying to break up a fight between two pit bulls the victim owned.

All three dogs were euthanized; the latter two because of the serious injuries they inflicted on one another, according to police.

Although pit bulls make up only 1.7 percent of the licensed dogs in Royal Oak, they were responsible for 35 percent of the dog bites reported to police this year.

Because of these incidents and others, including the death of a baby by the family pit bull in Eastpointe in April, City Commissioner Terry Drinkwine called for a ban on pit bulls.

"This is an accident waiting to happen," Drinkwine said. "All I want to do is prevent what I know to be inevitable. All dogs bite. The difference is pit bulls don't stop until the subject stops moving."

At Monday's commission meeting, Drinkwine settled for beefing up the city's ordinances. No other elected officials supported a ban on pit bulls or any breeds of dogs.

Pit bull isn't a recognized breed; it's a slang term used to refer to American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers, City Commissioner Michael Andrzejak said.

Also, most dogs aren't purebreds, he added.

"Do you target full breeds or ones that are 50 percent or 75 percent?" Andrzejak asked. "There's no reliable way to check lineage."

Royal Oak has 5,311 licensed dogs; 650 are breeds prohibited or strictly regulated by other cities, including 99 Rottweilers, 95 pit bull or Staffordshire terriers, 44 Doberman pinschers and 412 German shepherds, according to the city clerk's office.

Contact Catherine Kavanaugh at cathy.kavanaugh@ dailytribune. com or (586) 783-0216.

http://www.dailytri articles/ 2009/09/23/ news/srv00000064 58768.txt

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Re: Royal Oak, MI: Meeting Tonight!

Postby heather » Thu Oct 01, 2009 12:15 pm

City officials ask to strengthen
vicious dog ordinance

By Jeremy Carroll
C & G Staff Writer

ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak will not ban breed-specific dogs, but city officials plan to take a closer look at the city’s vicious dog ordinance and look to strengthen it after several residents have come forward to complain about pit bulls.

The City Commission asked City Attorney Dave Gillam to report back on various other communities and their ordinances, along with a recommendation on how to strengthen the current city ordinance. The discussion came at the Sept. 21 regular meeting.

Commissioner Terry Drinkwine had pushed for breed-specific legislation, but it appeared he had no other support from members of the commission.

“There’s a difference between a little dog biting you and a dog attacking you for the purpose of killing you,” Drinkwine said.

He said often the smaller dogs will nip people, but pit bulls will “attack.”

“We should look at preventing (a dog mauling someone) before that happens,” he said.

City Manager Donald Johnson said breed-specific banning has its problems, among them that the term “pit bull” isn’t actually tied to one breed, but actually several breeds. Also, most dogs are not purebred, and many owners don’t actually know the complete breed history of their dogs, he said.

“Most dogs in our city are mixed breed, and not purebred,” he said.

Of the 5,311 registered dogs in the city, 95 are identified as pit bulls, or 1.7 percent of the registered dogs in Royal Oak. But those breeds are responsible for 35 percent of the dog bites in the city this year, according to statistics provided by the city.

Two residents had voiced their concerns about pit bulls at the Sept. 14 meeting, including Stephanie Deckert, who said a neighbor’s pit bull recently attacked her cat and killed it.
But several residents came out Sept. 21 to voice opposition to breed-specific bans that have been enacted in other communities.

Resident Brooks Vickers said he raises German shepherds, which are subject to ban in some communities. He said a dog is a product of its training and owner.

“When you start talking about banning breeds of dogs and telling them certain breeds are vicious, you are not looking at each dog,” he said. “Every dog is going to react when the dog or the handler is nervous. Any dog that is put into a high-stress situation can react.”

Several commissioners agreed, asking the city administration to look into strengthening the current vicious dog ordinance.

“We need to look at what we can do to make that ordinance stronger,” Mayor Jim Ellison said.

He suggested possibly looking at making it a minor felony to have a “vicious dog,” to encourage people to make sure they get proper training for their animals. According to the current ordinance, residents that violate it can be fined up to $500 or imprisoned for up to 90 days, as determined by the court.

You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Carroll at jcarroll@candgnews. com or at (586) 279-1110.

http://www.candgnew Articles/ 2009/9-30- 09/Royal- Oak-dog-ordinanc e.asp

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Re: Royal Oak, MI: Meeting Tonight!

Postby FBODGRL » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:15 pm

Wow...don't know how I missed this.

Anyone know what is going on with the ordinance?

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Re: Royal Oak, MI: Meeting Tonight!

Postby WonderBull » Mon Oct 12, 2009 6:39 pm

This is the most recent article I could find, they discuss favoring a non breed specific ordinance, see the portion in red 3/4 of the way down:

October 4, 2009

Candidates split over moratorium

By Steve Kowalski

ROYAL OAK - Each of the four candidates for the three Royal Oak City Commission seats see foreclosures as a problem, including those in their neighborhoods.

They gave their solutions during an hour-long forum Tuesday night at the Royal Oak High School auditorium, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the School District of the City of Royal Oak.

Patricia Capello said she'd encourage volunteerism, similar to how her family and neighbors have responded to foreclosed properties. Capello is a retired regional manager of a telephone company, and she also served on the City Commission between 2004-07.

“Keep the grass mowed, make sure the property looks lived in,” she said, adding that the city should also consider cutting the lawns of foreclosed homes, “if a sufficient number of volunteers can't be found.”

Business owner Andrew Androff said he likes Capello's idea of volunteerism and added that he'd encourage open houses for foreclosed homes.

David Poulton, an attorney, said he believes bank owners who take over foreclosed homes should be responsible for the homes' care.

“They took over it, they got to take care of it,” he said, adding that it's also a good idea for volunteers to cut the grass.

Jim Rasor said the city should use federal stimulus money to purchase homes and also pursue more business development.

“(The foreclosed homes) will be filled when people are paid a living wage,” he said.


Asked how he'd react to a possible 20 percent reduction in state revenue sharing, Androff said there needs to be concessions on employee health care benefits to balance the budget.

“In a (time of) structural deficit, we are taking in less than we are spending,” he said. “We need to address employee health care benefits, make them more in line with the private sector.”

Capello touts her record as a commissioner when no layoffs were made to settle budgets, and said she favors cutting expenses per employee rather than cutting staff.

Poulton said cutting “red tape” and welcoming businesses are the keys to balancing budgets.

Rasor, an attorney, said he's tired of calling City Hall and getting voice mail instead of a staff member, due to cuts in hours of operations. He believes declining revenues have led to that.

Androff is the only candidate who supports the Nov. 3 ballot proposal for a two-year moratorium on liquor license transfers, saying it would provide relief for public safety staffing.

“The same people who hinge development on downtown bars are the same people who want to raise taxes on you,” Androff said. “Public safety is about reaching all four corners of Royal Oak, not just downtown.”

The three in opposition to the moratorium said they also oppose raising taxes.

Poulton opposes the moratorium because it would limit the responsibilities of commissioners.

“That's what (commissioners) are elected to do — to make the tough decisions,” he said. “I'm willing to stand up and make the decision.”

Rasor called the moratorium “anti-job, anti-competition,” and Capello said the liquor industry in Royal Oak should not be looked at “as a bad industry.”

Rasor said Androff's position supporting the moratorium makes him “a little wary of a candidate who believes we need to restrict the jobs of the commission.”


Each of the four candidates agreed that the vicious dog ordinance needs stricter amendments and oppose a ban on breeds like pit bulls.

“There are many things we can do to train owners, rehabilitate dogs,” Capello said.

Rasor said he's not a “big fan of people with dogs that hurt people” and “we're going to have to have those dogs out of the community.”

“It's about personal responsibility,” Rasor added.

Androff and Poulton favor a “tightening” of the current vicious dog ordinance to help deter attacks on residents.

Androff said he deserves a vote on the Nov. 3 ballot because, as a business owner, he would bring a new attitude to the commission table over Capello, who formerly served on the commission, and Poulton and Rasor, who are attorneys.

“We already have two attorneys on the City Commission, three if you count the city attorney,” he said. “I'm a business owner, if you want something that's unique.”

Capello said her time off since not running for a second term on the City Commission has made her “re-charged” and “ready to go.”

Capello said she helped the city balance budgets and remain “self sufficient,” during her term on the City Commission. She said she also has led the way in getting the city's animal shelter to operate as a separate entity, not reliant on city funding.

Poulton said his constituency would be all of the city, not just the downtown.

“As your next City Commissioner, I'll be your voice at the commission table,” Poulton said.

Rasor said “I'm the right candidate for Royal Oak at this time.”|(313) 222-2047

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Re: Royal Oak, MI: Meeting Tonight!

Postby heather » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:46 am

The article below out of the Daily Tribune points out the city council isn't planning on "banning" any breeds, but its not clear whether a new ordinance would regulate ownership of dogs based on certain characteristics they possess, as the city attorney indicates.

Those in and around Royal Oak, Michigan should reach out to city officials with their suggestions and assistance in crafting an ordinance that benefits the safety and welfare of all the members of the community - people and animals alike.

City officials will discuss this issue again next month.

crossposted from blessthebullys

Royal Oak setting new rules for ‘dangerous’ dogs

By Catherine Kavanaugh; @CatherineKav

ROYAL OAK — Beware of “dangerous” dogs.

The city is after getting reports of 32 dog bites and 21 “vicious dog incidents” in 2012, including two pit bulls shot and killed by police after they escaped from a yard and attacked a rat terrier on a walk with its owner.

The terrier died from wounds sustained during the Dec. 13 attack on the 600 block of Amelia.

The incident is prompting city officials to look at new regulations for owners of dogs considered dangerous, which means the animals have a history of biting, attacking or damaging property. However, they don’t plan to go as far as banning any breed like Hazel Park did a year ago with pit bulls.


The City Commission talked Monday night about giving more teeth to Royal Oak’s dog ordinance by holding owners of

dogs deemed dangerous to higher standards, such as padlocking their gates and using muzzles on walks.

“Bully breeds” got a lot of attention at the meeting. City Commissioner Pat Capello, who brought up the issue of increased regulation, said that last year 10 of the dog bites and 11 of the vicious dog incidents involved “bully breeds,” which she defined as the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and the American bulldog.

Royal Oak has about 3,600 licensed dogs and 240 are recognized as a bully breed.

“That’s less than 7 percent of the dogs yet they are responsible for more than 50 percent of the vicious dog incidents,”

Capello said. “I recognize other dogs can be equally dangerous but they are not getting into the same kind of incidents we are hearing about.”

Mayor Jim Ellison argued against kind of breed-specific changes to the local law. He also added to Capello’s list of proposed requirements for owners. The mayor is calling for mandatory obedience training for some dogs and yearly recertification as well as harsher penalties for violations, including surrender of a dog for second offenses.

“This is about educating the owner to deal with the dog they have as much training the dog to behave itself,” Ellison said. “…I want them to take responsibility whether it is a mastiff, Rottweiler or Dobie. They need to understand the characteristics of those dogs and they need to understand the animal they are bringing into their home.”

City Attorney David Gillam said the types of dogs that will be covered by the new rules could be defined by characteristics instead of breed. He has been given a month to research the matter.

Royal Oak is looking at requiring owners of dogs classified as dangerous to:

Walk the dog on a three-foot leash and pull the pet to the hip in the presence of other people.

Use a body harness and martingale-style collar for better control.

Muzzle dogs with powerful jaws outside of the yard.

Limit the people who walk the dog to someone who is at least 18 and has the physical strength to control it.

Have a yard with a continuous fence that is in good shape and at least four-feet tall, or if the dog is a breed known to jump high have an enclosed portable kennel.

Padlock gates of their yards.

Take obedience training classes and get yearly certification.

Carry mandatory insurance.

Be limited to one dangerous dog per household.

Capello said, if enacted, “They are surely suggestions to keep the dogs and the owners out of trouble.”

Elected officials also gave the administration a month to look at what other cities are doing and recommend other ways to improve Royal Oak’s ordinance.

“We’ll gather background information for a month and then we’ll take it back to the commission for a discussion and to get a more clear direction,” Gillam said.

In addition, the commission wants a process for residents to report suspected dangerous dogs to the animal control officer, who then will determine if the pet is dangerous and whether the rules should apply.

City Commissioner David Poulton said most dog owners are responsible but stronger requirements are needed for those who put Royal Oak residents and visitors at risk.

Poulton cited an incident last summer downtown, where a pit bull attacked an 18-month-old golden retriever in training for Leader Dogs for the Blind. The pit bull broke loose from a 10-year-old girl on Main Street. Her mother had left her in charge of the animal while she went into a store.

A witness said the pit bull pinned the service dog to the ground and had it by the throat.

“If not for 10 men who wrestled this pit bull down, who knows what kind of damage it would have caused,” Poulton said.

Neither of the dogs needed medical attention but the incident underscores the dangers of owners letting their guard down.

“People are concerned and they want the city to take action,” Poulton said of the pending rules. “These are appropriate steps.”

At the very least, owners of some dogs should padlock their gates when the pets are in the yard and use muzzles on walks, Capello said.

“That could do a lot of good for the community,” she added. “No. 1, it keeps that dog from wreaking any havoc on other dogs or small animals. It also could save that dog’s life because typically when we have instances where dogs are involved

in vicious dog incidents the perpetrators typically don’t survive one way or another.”

Back in December, when police shot the two pit bulls that attacked the terrier, one died at the scene and the other ran home with a grazing head wound. That pit bull later died at a veterinarian’s office.

Police ticketed the owner of the pit bulls with having dogs at large, harboring dangerous animals and failing to license the dogs. ... full_story

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Re: Royal Oak, MI: Meeting Tonight!

Postby heather » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:21 pm

The city of Royal Oak, MI is targeting "bully breed" dogs. ... ly-breeds/

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Re: Royal Oak, MI: Meeting Tonight!

Postby heather » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:50 pm ... full_story

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