By Joyleih and Sophia, the Legal Beagles –
New legislation was introduced in Michigan’s Senate in January, which simply reads as follows:
“Sec. 1. (1) A local unit of government shall not enact or enforce an ordinance, policy, resolution, or rule that regulates a dog based upon breed or perceived breed. However, this act does not prohibit a local unit of government from enacting an ordinance, policy, resolution, or rule that places restrictions or imposes additional requirements on dogs or dog owners.
(2) As used in this act, “local unit of government” means a county, city, village, or township.”
Some local governments do in fact restrict certain breeds currently, such as Waterford and Muskegon Heights.
Throughout our firm’s practice of community association law in the State of Michigan for over 45 years, we have regularly dealt with pet issues in condominiums and subdivisions, the large majority of which involved dogs. And we can testify to the fact that those issues are not limited to certain breeds or could even be said to mainly involve certain breeds.
As many of our readers are aware, this issue arises regularly because boards of directors of an association will from time to time propose amending the governing documents of the association to include a restriction on certain dog breeds. While their intent may be to protect the residents, unfortunately it has the effect of unreasonably limiting certain dog owners’ housing choices.
It would benefit Michigan residents if this bill were also to prohibit condominium associations from restricting dog breeds in the condominium’s governing documents. This might be added to Section 46 of the Michigan Condominium Act (MCL 559.146). We have written to the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee, which is meeting soon to consider the bill. Of course, we’ll keep you updated on further developments.