LANSING — State Representative Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) has introduced legislation aimed at protecting mail carriers, utility workers, children, pedestrians and others from dangerous dogs. Unlike previous legislation that singled out particular “bully dog” breeds, Rep. Hoadley’s bill identifies dangerous behaviors, such as biting and mauling.
“It would be unfair to single out friendly, well-trained dogs simply because they have a certain lineage,” Rep. Hoadley said. “The breeds aren’t the problem: lack of training and aggressive behavior is. If a dog has demonstrated bad behavior or has injured a person or another pet, its owner must take action to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This is about accountability. This proposal creates a mechanism to make sure that happens.”
Hoadley’s bill would require a hearing if a valid complaint has been filed against a dog. A court could, if the facts bear it out, then order an animal to be registered as a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog. Once registered, local letter carriers and utility companies would be notified of its address. Enforcement could take place against owners who do not follow properly issued court orders.
“As a dog owner myself, I know that having a pet can bring joy and companionship,” Hoadley said. “I also know that having a pet is a great responsibility, and we’re responsible not only to our pet, but to the people who encounter it. I’m hopeful that this law would encourage more responsible pet ownership, and I urge my colleagues in the House to take it up for consideration.”