Michigan Dog Leash Laws: Catching Inattentive Owners
Is your dog leashed? If you live in Michigan, this is not an option- it is a requirement. Michigan is one of two states that have statewide laws on leashes. According to the Michigan State Dog Law of 1919 Section 287.262, it is illegal for a dog to be beyond the premises of its owner unless properly held on a leash. There are exceptions to this law for hunting dogs, service dogs, and other working dogs that are engaging in the activities for which they were trained.
Presumably, the main goals of leash laws are to protect the public from unrestrained dogs and potential harm inflicted by them. The laws ensure that people can feel safe while walking through their local neighborhood or playing in the local park with their kids; that a potential dog attack isn’t something they will have to worry about. However, not all dog owners will comply with the law.
You will most likely encounter an unleashed dog from time-to-time, if you haven’t already. Many neighborhoods have a street or particular area that is commonly avoided by the area residents due to an intimidating or unleashed dog. This type of problem is not only a nuisance, it’s dangerous.
Here are a few tips on how to go about reporting an inattentive dog owner in your area.
Don’t wait to make the report
Report the situation to your local law enforcement agency as quickly as possible. Do not wait until you or someone else is injured. Reporting will at least start a paper trail of the problem. This will be beneficial if you need to make subsequent reports about the same owner or if someone is ever injured by the owner’s dog.
If a dog owner is refusing to comply with the leash law, there is a good chance they may not be in compliance with other requirements of dog ownership such as licensing and maintaining timely vaccinations. Making the report will prompt law enforcement officials to investigate the situation and address any other violations at the same time.
Take a picture with your cell phone of the unleashed dog. Of course you’ll have to use common sense with this one and only attempt to do so if you’re at a safe distance and not in immediate danger. Having photographic documentation is helpful to validate your report to law enforcement. However, having a photo is certainly not required.
If there are other people who observed the unleashed dog (or other nuisance behavior), have them make the report as well. This can be done as one joint report or separately if necessary.
Know the location
Knowing the address of the house is important when making a report. Although this seems obvious, it’s often overlooked. When you’re out for a walk, addresses are not usually the focus of your attention. Providing the exact address will help your law enforcement professionals in addressing the issue.
Keep in mind that in addition to state law, there are often times other local ordinances in place that include additional requirements for dog owners. For example, according to dogsbite.org, there are 25 local ordinances throughout Michigan that have breed-specific legislation that ban or restrict certain dog breeds. When in doubt, make the report. The risks of reporting an inattentive dog owner are minimal. The risks of not reporting could have catastrophic consequences.
Article Written by SimplyLili
Bio: SimplyLili is a PhD student in Social Psychology and an avid blogger. Her main goal is to bring awareness to issues that warrant social responsibility and action. She is a self-proclaimed nerd and her 3 fave things are cheesecake, rainy days, and pugs.