Detroit passes new ordinance to keep potentially dangerous pets from roaming streets

Major changes coming for Detroit dog owners

DETROIT – The Detroit City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a new ordinance aimed at keeping potentially dangerous pets from roaming the streets.

Big changes are coming to Detroit when it comes to what the city calls "dangerous animals." The city passed an animal control ordinance after the vicious death of 4-year-old Xavier Strickland, who was mauled by pit bulls in 2015.

Animal control now has more officers, increasing from two to nine, and they have more money to work with after the ordinance was passed.

One of the biggest changes is that pet owners in Detroit can't use metal chains to tether their dogs to a fence, and the city said they plan to enforce these changes now.

"It's a good feeling to know we will finally have something on the books," City Council President Brenda Jones said.

Jones said some of the many changes are departmental.

"More money was allocated in the budget to the department to make sure they can carry out what they need to in this ordinance," Jones said.

Other changes directly impact pet owners in the city. If an animal appears neglected, it can be impounded.

The ordinance also heavily addresses tethering dogs, which Detroit resident and dog owner John Holmquist is all about.

"It breaks my heart" to see a dog chained up, Holmquist said. "I've had no problems, been in the city for 3 1/2 years, walk her all the time, no problems."

He's glad the city will now issue an annual report to residents, letting them know where the dangers are.

"I mean, public safety is No. 1, so if there are harmful animals around, we should know about them," Holmquist said.

VIEW: Dangerous animals fact sheet

The changes start now, and Jones said the city will be watching.

"They will do whatever is humanly necessary to make sure the laws are being enforced," Jones said.

If your dog is loose, you can be fined, which is a way to bring more revenue to the city. If you have questions, you can call the city.

You can see the signed final dangerous animals ordinance below.

About the Authors:

Koco McAboy was born and raised in Metro Detroit. She joined the Local 4 News team in September of 2016, and worked at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids prior to that. Koco went to Central Michigan University where she graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast and Cinematic Arts with minors in Spanish and Political Science.