A controversial dog ordinance banning pit bulls was passed Tuesday evening by Grosse Pointe Shores City Council.
The bill was approved by a 4-3 vote after a heated debate during public comments. Grosse Pointe Shores joins more than a dozen Michigan communities that ban or restrict pit bulls, including neighboring Grosse Pointe Woods.
Under the new ordinance, residents are prohibited from owning any type of pit bull. Current owners of licensed pit bulls are excluded from the ban but must follow new rules to keep them, including:
- Home must have a 6-foot fence.
- Pit bulls must be on a leash at all times while out in public.
- $100,000 liability insurance policy in case the dog injures someone and/or damages property.
Critics of breed-specific bans say the ordinances do not actually reduce dog bites in the communities that have them. They also counter that there is no scientific proof that specific breeds are more dangerous than others.
The American Kennel Club does not recognize the pit bull as an actual dog breed, but are considered a type of dog usually of mixed-breed heritage. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier are generally grouped under the pit bull umbrella.
The creation of the Grosse Pointe Shores ban stems from a dog bite incident that happened in June involving the pit bull of Detroit Lions player David Montgomery attacking another dog.
Mark and Dana Owen were walking their cockapoo in front of Montgomery’s home when the running back’s canine, Lola, got loose and bit the Owens’ dog. Lola would not immediately let go, causing such severe damage that the cockapoo had to have a leg amputated. Mark Owen was also injured while trying to pry Lola off of his dog.
Owen was at the city council meeting and was asked for his thoughts by Grosse Pointe Shores Mayor Ted Kedzierski before the votes were cast.
“I do support the ban,” Owen told the council meeting attendees. “No one else in this room has been on the ground, screaming for his life. I have zero feeling now on the side of my hand. My three-legged dog tries to walk and falls on her face after three surgeries, $16,000. It’s been absolute hell.”