Pit Bull Attack in Royal Oak Spurs Vicious Animal Debate

An official in Royal Oak, Michigan is asking the city to strengthen animal-control measures after a string of dog attacks.

On September 8, 2009, a pit bull attacked and killed a cat belonging to Stephanie Deckert. Royal Oak City Commissioner Terry Drinkwine responded by taking up the cause of dog-attack victims, asking the city to review and reconsider its policies toward vicious animals.

Mr. Drinkwine sought similar action in 2008, but was unable to rally support.

Reports indicate that the pit bull that indicated Ms. Deckert's cat has been euthanized. The owner attempted to protect the animal by sending it to live in Warren.

She had relocated from Waterford, which banned pit bulls -- along with hyenas, pumas, lions and other dogs -- more than 20 years ago. Authorities ticketed her with misdemeanors for failing to obtain a license and for harboring a vicious and dangerous animal.

Mr. Drinkwine has called for an ordinance targeting vicious dog breeds and plans to bring the matter before city officials on Monday, September 21.

Animal-control ordinances in Redford Township, Hazel Park, Farmington Hills and Wyandotte have recently been tightetned. Westland and Dearborn Heights restrict ownership of pit bulls.

In Royal Oak, pit bulls account for more than 33 percent of all reported dog attacks, but less than 2 percent of the licensed dogs in the city.

Regrettably, the cat's death is not the only accident in recent memory involving serious injury and resulting in the destruction of the dog.

In mid-August, a resident of South Laurel Avenue discovered his two pit bulls fighting and attempted to separate them. The man was attacked and his animals were also put to sleep.

This past April, a boy, 11 months, was attacked and killed by the family dog in Eastpointe. In that case, the dog was subsequently shot and killed by its owner.

A pit bull attack on Durham Avenue last November sent two women to the hospital. A pack of three animals converged on the victims, one of whom was carrying a baby.

Also in 2008, a Rottweiler attacked and killed a girl, 4 months, in Warren. The two men who own the doge were then charged with involuntary manslaughter.


 However, despite the worsening problem with dangerous and aggressive pit bulls in the area, other in the city council meeting opposed breed-specific city ordinances that might single out pit bull terriers. The problem became even more complex when it was noted that pit bulls are not an officially recognized breed.

A city attorney suggested that making existing laws for all vicious dogs tougher may be the best solution to Royal Oak's serious dog attack problem. The revised city ordinance on dangerous dogs will be revealed at the next city council meeting.

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