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Ordinance targets nuisance canines

November 18, 2012
By ADELLE WHITEFOOT - Journal Ishpeming Bureau ( , The Mining Journal

ISHPEMING - The city of Ishpeming's dog ordinance is getting a lot of attention since reports of dogs attacking other dogs this summer.

At last week's Ishpeming City Council meeting, a recommendation from the city's dog ordinance committee was discussed.

The issue was first brought up during the council's August meeting because of animal attacks had happened. At that meeting, the council asked City Manager Jered Ottenwess and City Attorney David Savu to look into statutes related to dog-on-dog attacks and dog-on-people attacks and then later assigned a committee to look into the city's ordinance related to dogs.

During the committee's work, Ottenwess said he was in contact with Lareina Van Strien, manager of the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter in Negaunee Township, because one of the pit bulls that was involved in an attack came from the shelter. According to Ottenwess, Strien directed him to an animal control officer in downstate Sterling Heights.

"Sterling Heights has really put together, I think, quite a progressive ordinance in deal with these kinds of issues," Ottenwess said. "In fact they've had similar kinds of issues come up a couple years ago.

"There was a lot of public outcry and they had a lot of involved citizens that came together and through public forums developed an ordinance with quite strict regulations once a dog is considered to be a dangerous dog."

The dog ordinance committee submitted recommendations to amend the city ordinance to include provisions from the Sterling Heights ordinance with some modifications, Ottenwess said.

The committee made the following four recommendations:

The ordinance states that if a dog commits three violations in a period of 24 months, the dog can be declared a dangerous dog by the police department.

The violations include exhibiting aggressive behaviors that result in further incidents or complaints after having been determined to be a potentially dangerous dog, causing severe injury to a person or domestic animal, kills a person or domestic animal or its use in the commission of a crime, including but not limited to dog fighting and guarding of illegal operations.

Council member Elaine Racine said the ordinance is not breed specific, it's about whether a person has a dangerous dog and holding that owner responsible. The council unanimously approved a motion to send the letter to UPAWS and allow the city manager and attorney to create these amendments for approval later.

Also at the meeting, the council unanimously denied requests for extensions to store inoperable motor vehicles at residences on Bank and North Pine streets. It also approved a motion to sell 2.6 acres to Robroy Ockerman for $10,000 per acre, or $26,000 for the lot.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is



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