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New bill would create "dangerous dogs" registry in Michigan

Sep 26, 2016

Dogs that bite could end up on a "dangerous dog" registry, and their owners could end up behind bars. That's the idea behind a new bill from State Representative Jon Hoadley.

The Kalamazoo Democrat wants to create a registry of dogs that have bitten people. He also wants to hold their owners accountable for injuries or damages caused by dog bites. 

"Folks that are approaching that residence, where the dog is, would have information that a dangerous dog is there, but secondly, it holds those owners to a higher level of accountability," Hoadley says. "So if something goes wrong, those owners are responsible."

Michigan had the sixth highest number of fatal dog bites last year. That's according to DogsBite.org, a non-profit that aims to raise awareness  of dog attacks in the country.

The U.S. Postal Service released a report earlier this year on the number of dog attacks on postal service employees in 2015. Detroit ranked 15th on that list. 

Hoadley says he got the idea for the bill from former State Representative Sean McCann, also a Democrat representing Kalamazoo.

"In addition to the fact that we know that [dog bites] cause literally thousands upon thousands of dollars in insurance claims every year, the reality is that we've got to do something to make sure people are held accountable for their dogs," he says.

Although Hoadley is doubtful that the legislation will pass this year, he says the logistics of the registry still need to be figured out soon.