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Bill would prevent banning specific dog breeds

Posted: 9:03 AM, Dec 09, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-09 14:03:29Z

A bill that recently passed in the Senate would make it illegal for communities to ban specific dog breeds.

But, a couple recent pit bull attacks, including one that killed a 4-year-old boy, has legislators reconsidering the measure.

So pit bull owner Jenny Ottney is hoping she can help change the stereotype.

"She's a lot different than what people would expect," she said.

She's had her three-legged pit bull, Impy, for six years, and says "people automatically assume that they're fighting dogs, aggressive, you shouldn't have them around children."

But for her, it's the opposite. Impy plays with her 3-year-old, and has always been sweet to her family.

"Pit bulls are just dogs like every other dog," Ottney said. "I don't think they should be judged differently."

The legislation would make specific dog breed bans and regulations illegal; 27 communities have them across the state.

But the dog attack in Detroit in the first week of December has other lawmakers worried that it would put people in danger.

"They don't have a ban in place," said Sen. Rebekah Warren (D) Ann Arbor. "I think there are a lot of folks in that community who wish they would."

But veterinarians say, that's not fair to the animals.

"Dogs from all breeds can be dangerous in the right context," said Dr. Maria Iliopoulou from MSU, who's studied breed bans across the U.S.

"They're expensive, they don't protect the public, there's no evidence for that, and they're not fair to the dogs," Dr. Iliopoulou said.

So animal advocates like Jenny Ottney are just hoping owners' mistakes won't cost her a part of her family.