What Are The Michigan Dog Leash Laws?
Most dog owners don’t even think twice about letting their dog(s) off their leash in public and it’s usually never a problem, especially if it’s a park or area where it might seem safe to do so. Unfortunately, The State of Michigan has a dog leash law that dates back over 100 years. This law was put into place to protect the public from encountering unnecessary dog bites or attacks. According to Michigan law, which can be found within Michigan MCL 287.262 (DOG LAW OF 1919 – Act 339 of 1919). no dog owner is allowed to have his or her dog stray in public unless leashed properly. For all practical purposes, this applies to any area that is not on the owner’s property. While not heavily enforced, anyone who violates this law is subject to a misdemeanor charge and fines all the way up to $10,000. In fact, some cities in Michigan even go a step further requiring a certain leash length. Just to be safe, you should check the ordinances in your local area.
What Is The Law For Dog Licensing in Michigan?
Michigan also strict licensing laws when it comes to dogs. If your dog is less than 6 months old, there is no requirement for it to be licensed but that is the only break your going to get. This means you have a 6 month window to make sure the dog is up to date on all shots and vaccines and registered with the Michigan County where you and the dog live. While the main reason to acquire a dog license is that’s its the law, there are a few other reasons for doing so. It provided great identification and allows your dog to be returned to the owner if you pet is lost and found. It lets anyone who may be bitten by the dog know that it is in fact rabies free and this prevents unnecessary painful treatment to the victim. The license tag also proves that you are in fact the owner of the dog. After the dog turns 6 months, the dog must be licensed and wear a tag at all times with only a few exceptions. These exceptions include:
- Leader Dogs
- Guard Dogs
- Farm Dogs
- Hunting Dogs
- Other Such Dogs
It’s important to note that these exceptions are only included if the dog is actively engaged in the activity for which it was specifically trained and in must be accompanied by their rightful owner or an authorized agent.
How Do I Obtain a Dog License In My County?
In order to obtain this license, you need to show proof that the dog has been vaccinated for rabies. This usually comes in the form of a signed vaccination certificate provided by a veterinarian. In most locations, it is usually cheaper to obtain this certificate if your dog has been sterilized. You will need to show proof of this as well and usually comes in the form a certificate of sterilization by your veterinarian or a sworn affidavit.
Dog licenses can usually be purchased from your veterinarian, but not all vets provide this service. Make sure you check your local county website to see where this can be purchased or simply ask your veterinarian. In Ingham County, you can purchase dog licenses at the following locations:
Prices will vary depending on where you live in Michigan and the current status of your dog. If you dog is sterilized and considered non-delinquent (meaning your dog is under 6 months old or already has a license that you are simply extending) the price will be much lower. If your dog is not sterilized and considered delinquent (older than 6 months and does not currently have a dog license) the price will be much higher. The licenses are usually available in 1 and 3 year increments simply because those are the common dates for rabies vaccinations to last. To see the current prices for a dog license in Ingham County, visit this page here.
Why Are Michigan’s Leash and Licensing Laws So Strict?
The purpose of these laws is to prove negligence of the owner in the event the dog injures or attack another person. It has been proven time and again that any dog is capable of biting regardless of the amount of training or even the dog breed. Some dog breeds are thought to be more dangerous than others, but even dogs that considered safe and well-trained are capable of inflicting injuries. These laws establish that it’s the owners responsibility to keep their dog under control and the defendant in dog bite and dog attack cases is the owner.
If you still have questions regarding dog bite laws in Michigan, do not hesitate to contact our personal injury lawyers at (517) 347-6900. We can answer any questions that you might have for free!