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Man Forced To Give Up Dog Due To Local Law

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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A Michigan man will have his new canine companion taken away because of a local law that bans certain types of dog breeds.

An ordinance in Waterford Township, Michigan mandates that pit bull terriers and other dogs of a similar mix are prohibited.

Detroit Dog Rescue, a no-kill animal shelter, first acquired the dog from a local animal control center. The shelter posted a picture of the pup on the group’s Facebook page. Moments later, the image was “liked” by many social media users and was subsequently adopted by local musician Dan Tillery.

Evidently excited by his new pooch, Diggy, Tillery sent a photo of the two to Detroit Dog Rescue. The animal advocacy group then shared that photo on Facebook.

The picture gained so much notoriety that not only was the pair featured in People magazine, but the two were also noticed by law enforcement. The Waterford Township Police Department sent officers to Tillery’s home to meet the dog. According to Tillery’s account of the events, Diggy “licked their face, was very kind” and even had pictures taken of him.

The pictures were used for evaluation and Diggy was deemed a pit bull, rendering him an illegal animal under Chapter 3, Article III of the township’s code of ordinances.

The police contend neighbor complaints prompted the investigation.

Police Chief Scott Underwood issued a statement Monday, saying “based on their observations, it was determined the dog was part pit bull/pit bull terrier.” Being in possession of a pit bull is a violation with a penalty of $500. Diggy will be removed from his owner’s home within a week.

The breed-specific legislation, or BSL, stemmed from an incident in 1988 in which a pit bull attacked resident Kathy Krajewski as well as her Airedale terrier, Felix. “My left thumb and right arm were ripped apart,” she told reporters. “I still have a huge scar but I was more hurt emotionally. The hardest part was watching them rip apart my dog.” Following the episode, the township passed the ban.

The statute explicitly imposes “prohibitory measures to discourage and ban the possession and maintenance of animals considered as exotic and not easily domesticated”, which includes “the breeds of dog generally known as pit bulls or pit bull terriers which are determined to pose an unacceptable risk to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of this community.”

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