Ingham County backs bill to save dogs trained to fight

INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) – A bill sitting in the Michigan Senate won a stamp of approval Thursday night from the Ingham County Law and Courts Committee.

Commissioners voted to endorse a resolution that would give animal control agencies the option to allow dogs seized in a dog fighting ring to be adopted after they’ve had a proper evaluation.

You can view the resolution here.

Under Michigan law, if a court finds an animal poses a threat to public safety or lacks any useful purpose…it can be euthanized.

So far that’s the case for five dogs that were seized in connection to what police say was a dog fighting ring here in the greater Lansing area.

Advocates against this action, including Jamie Hillman, the founder of the Coalition to Save the Lansing Michigan Pit bulls spoke up.

“They’re victims and they deserve a chance to at least have a professional evaluation to prove they can be rehabilitated,” said Hillman.

Ingham County Animal Control Director John Dinon says he wants nothing more than to re-home these dogs but his hands are tied because of state law.

“The reason I brought forth this resolution to support Senate Bill 416 is to change the law so that we won’t be so limited on our options for the future,” Dinon stated.

Dinon says even though the bill would provide more options for animal control agencies, euthanasia would still be on the table.

“No matter what the law says, if we evaluate them and we feel they’re not safe to put out in the community we’ll euthanize them. We not only have an obligation to uphold the law but we have an obligation to public safety,” said Dinon.

Dinon says the Ingham County Animal Control received ownership of ten of the 53 dogs seized in the dog ring bust. Five were put down, the other five dogs underwent evaluation and will most likely be re-homed but the future for the remaining dogs…remains unclear.

“We can’t do anything with the dogs right now, we are compelled to hold them as evidence. When they become our property, that’s when we make disposition decisions on them,” Dinon stated.

What’s the next step?

Dinon says now that the resolution has been approved in committee, it now moves to the full board of commissioners for action.

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