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Debate Continues Over Hazel Park’s Pit Bull Ban

mbrew brought to you by top adDebate Continues Over Hazel 711 ad pizzaPark’s Pit Bull Ban

(Doug Sanders and Crystal A. Proxmire, March 14, 2015)

A ban on pit bulls that was passed in 2012 has made its way into public discussion in Hazel Park, where the debate comes down to if violent K9 behavior is the fault of the dog’s breed or the dog’s owner.

The debate surfaced after Jamie Krackowski was in a fight with her boyfriend and her pit bull Isis stepped in to defend her. According to a report by Fox 2, Krackowski’s boyfriend Jamie Dopke, “became drunk, angry and eventually violent.” She told Fox 2 “Finally, when my head got hit against the wall, she just grabbed his pant leg and she was done. She was 20150312stpatsat_new_way_bar_tempdone with him abusing me – and abusing her.” The dog bit into Dopke’s leg and he needed to get 30 stitches. Dopke was arraigned on domestic violence charge and is out on bond. And Krackowski was told she had five days to remove Isis from the home because of the city’s pit bull ban.

The ban was passed in 2012 after a series of violent incidents involving pit bulls in the community. In 2012 the City Attorney Jan Drumm spoke with reporter Andy Kozolwski of C&G News about the ban. Kozolwski wrote:

One incident still fresh in Drumm’s mind happened in October when a woman left her two pit bulls unattended with her neighbor’s 6-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl in the backyard of the flat where they live. As the woman checked something on the stove upstairs, she heard the girl scream one of the pit bulls was going to attack the boy.

“When she ran outside, she found one dog, an unregistered male, pinning the boy to the chazzano game adground, biting at him. The 6-year-old had his skull fractured and wound up in plastic surgery for six hours, requiring hundreds of stitches.

“In an earlier incident, a pit bull jumped over the fence around its yard and killed a cat while a kid nearby watched and screamed in horror.”

According to a report in The Oakland Press, City Manager Ed Klobucher told reporter Aftab Borka “No one is anti-pit bull,” he said. “What we are are anti-vicious attacks and, unfortunately, the greatest number of attacks have been committed by the pit bull breed. That’s just a fact.”

Klobucher said the city has had 124 dog bite incidents since 2009 and 45 of them were by pit bulls.

Residents and activists went to the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, asking the City to modern natural baby inprogressreconsider the ban. Among them was Mike Toma, a friend of Krackowski’s and the owner of two pit bulls, Puppy and Diesel.

Toma spoke at council about his dogs, and the next day officers came to his house to give him five days’ notice to remove the animals. “I was shocked that they targeted me for helping Jamie,” Toma said. “I stirred the pot and now I’m being punished for it. When I saw that paper they shoved into my screen door, I cried like a little kid. I mean, I’m a single guy and those dogs are my kids.

Toma said he’s bewildered that a city such as Hazel Park would wade into such waters.

“My dogs have never been a danger to anyone,” he said, “but the city has made me a target. I don’t want to make the situation worse, I just want my due process.

“From what I hear, Hazel Park wants to be like Ferndale, but when you do stuff like this, even Reid_Sally_115people who don’t own dogs aren’t going to live somewhere where they discriminate.”

Courtney Protz-Sanders, director of Michigan’s Political Action Committee for Animals or MI-PACA spoke against the ordinance. “It basically says pet owners are welcome to live in our community, except you and you because your dogs look a certain way. That’s just the wrong way to go and will never accomplish what the people behind the ordinance hope it will.”

Statewide about 30 communities have breed-specific bans, including Hazel Park and Waterford, Borka reports.

When the ban was instituted in 2012, there was a window of time where pit bull owners had the CFSEM-123-OaklandCounty115-digital-ad_v2opportunity to license their pets and be grandfathered in. All dogs are required to be licensed no matter what the breed.

One possible solution could come in legislation that was introduced by Representative Sean McCann of Kalamazoo. HB 5721 was introduced in August 2014 and it would amend state law to give local authorities more control in recognizing and removing dangerous dogs, in a way that is non-breed specific.

The bill outlines warning signs that can be used to spark intervention, and allows for people who have concern over a dog to make sworn statements to law enforcement about the dog’s demeanor in order to prompt an investigation. The bill came after a man in Lapeer had been mauled to death by a pair of Cane Corso dogs.

In 2013 The White House issued a response to an online petition calling for an end to 934_8600_Gen-Online_Banners3breed-based bans, citing research from the Centers for Disease Control, stating:

We don’t support breed-specific legislation — research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at twenty years of data about dog bites and human fatalities in the United States. They found that fatal attacks represent a very small proportion of dog bite injuries to people and that it’s virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.

The CDC also noted that the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren’t deterred by breed regulations — when their communities establish a ban, these people just seek out new, seed22_Angela_Fisherunregulated breeds. And the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they’re intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive.

For all those reasons, the CDC officially recommends against breed-specific legislation — which they call inappropriate. You can read more from them here.

As an alternative to breed-specific policies, the CDC recommends a community-based approach to prevent dog bites. And ultimately, we think that’s a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.”

“It’s obvious that the pit bull is a more dangerous breed, but not all pit bulls are dangerous. We LibraryFriendsADpicksare open to other solutions that might help achieve the objective of residents’ safety, but we are safer now with the ban as it stands,” Klobucher said. He and city staff are working on gathering information and will accept suggestions from residents and trainers in an upcoming work session that will be announced.

Laura Witkowki, a trainer at Fido Personal Dog Training in Ferndale is hosting a seminar called The Truth About Pit Bulls on Saturday, April 11 from 1-3:30pm at their Ferndale location. Whether you’re familiar with pit bulls or cautiously curious, there’s something for everybody. The cost is$25 per person, and space is limited. Call (313) 204-6154 or email to sign up.

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