Vicious dog ordinance puts more accountability on owner - WNEM TV 5

Flint passes vicious dog ordinance, putting more accountability on owner

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When a dog attacks a person or another animal, some say don't blame the animal, blame the owner.

In Flint, the city council is doing just that.

"We have a lot of dog attacks in the city of Flint, attacking children, senior citizens, and we need to make these owners more accountable and more responsible for their dogs, so now the owner can be held criminally liable instead of civilly liable," said Flint council member Sheldon Neeley.

Neeley told TV5 so far this year, there have been 27 dog attacks against people, and he said the council's yes vote Monday makes the owners of vicious dogs more accountable. The owner of that dog could get up to 90 days in jail and be fined up to $500.

"We're going to make sure that we operate this ordinance with great discretion, and if we find that an owner has been negligent in operation or control of their animal, and it results in an attack anywhere from small to fatal, we want that owner to be responsible," Neeley said.

Dog owners on Tuesday night said they believe this will help improve public safety. J. Gardner and LaDon White own two pit bulls. They have them to protect their property, and they said if they do get off their leash and attack, they agree, they should be held liable.

"The owner, because you're supposed to keep your dog under control at all times," said Gardner.

"I think they'll have their dogs more under control because they don't want to go to jail," said White.

According to city spokesperson Jason Lorenz, Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley still has to sign off on the ordinance.

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