Reporting Rob Mason
YPSILANTI TWP. (WWJ) - Pit-bull owners in Ypsilanti Township who don’t have their dogs spayed or neutered could face jail time.
The Township Board of Trustees this week approved an extension of a pilot ordinance that requires owners to fix their pit bulls, making it permanent.
Residents who violate the law face criminal misdemeanor charges punishable by up to a $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail.
Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950′s Rob Mason, Ypsi Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo said community leaders were troubled, back in 2010, when they found a large number of stray and abandoned pit bulls sheltered at the local Humane Society.
“And I had the horrible experience of going to the Humane Society and seeing a number of them in a cooler that were euthanized and, oh, it broke my heart. So, we thought of a proactive approach to try to save the animals,” she said.
Stumbo said, although pit bulls are often stereotyped as extremely aggressive, many are not and are wonderful pets. That notwithstanding, Stumbo said humane workers continue to struggle to find homes for pit bulls that are captured as strays.
“The goal was the reduce the number of stray and abandoned pit bills and to reduce euthanasia rate, and to increase the adoption and live release is [how they refer to it] — and we were successful in doing that,” Stumbo said.
Officials said. so far, more than 700 pit bulls have been sterilized for free through a grant awarded to the Humane Society of Huron Valley from PetSmart, and the program has enough funds left to sterilize another 150.
According to a report at AnnArbor.com, Ypsilanti Township accounted for nearly 50 percent of the HSHV shelter’s pit bull intake, while 11.2 percent came from the City of Ypsilanti and 7.4 percent from Ann Arbor. Euthanasia of pit bulls dropped from a peak of 139 dogs in 2009 to 103 in 2011 and 56 through the end of this past October, with the ordinance in place.
The term “pit bull” refers to certain breeds of dog including the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and any mix of those breeds.