In an attempt to reduce the number of "dangerous" dog incidents, the Royal Oak City Commission is looking at putting some teeth into the city's dog ordinance.
Mayor Pro Tem Patricia Capello, a longtime volunteer of the Royal Oak Animal Shelter, outlined a list of recommendations Monday night aimed at protecting citizens and domestic animals from dogs that owners fail to control.
Capello said she received a flurry of emails from residents after police reported shooting two pit bulls attacking a smaller dog in the 600 block of Amelia in mid-December.
The owner of the pit bulls was issued several ordinance violations. The dog that was attacked did not survive.
"There is a great deal of concern within the community, especially from people who live within the vicinity of a dog they consider to be vicious," she said.
Capello's suggestions included regulating leash lengths, collars, fence heights and the age of dog-walkers, among others.
"I want the city to take action. I think these are appropriate steps," Commissioner David Poulton said of Capello's recommendations. "Other cities have enacted these. I think it's time for Royal Oak to do the same."
Poulton reminded his colleagues that a pit bull broke loose from a 10-year-girl staying in the sidewalk cafe of the Burgrz restaurant on Main Street last spring and attacked an 18-month-old guide dog.
'Dangerous' dog guidelines
Mayor Jim Ellison shared a document with commissioners that offered a list of guidelines aimed at curbing the problem of vicious dogs. The list incorporated many of Capello’s suggestions, the mayor said.
Under Ellison's plan, which is not breed specific, dogs may be classified by an Animal Control Officer as "dangerous," meaning residents can own the dog, but they must abide by "dangerous" dog guidelines.
Commissioners agreed to review the mayor's recommendations informally and come back in one month to continue the discussion.
In the meantime, city staff will also look into the matter and review dog ordinances in other communities.