A new plan proposed by state Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Mountain, will keep local governments from enacting breed-specific ordinances related to service animals.
Service animals have seen a spike in popularity due to the essential lifeline they provide to their handlers, allowing for more independence and peace of mind.
“My position is very simple,” LaFave said. “We have entities and agencies that oversee and license service dogs. In many cases, service dogs are specifically trained and tailored by experts to help veterans returning from active duty, seniors, children and others with exact needs. What business does a local government have stepping in and telling people that all of that doesn’t matter because the dog is a certain breed or looks like a certain breed?”
LaFave referenced a recent court case where an individual who had served in the military was asked to surrender his service dog or move out of the community solely because of the dog’s breed. A 2016 Detroit Free Press report found that 14 towns in Michigan had banned one or more specific dog breeds.
“I think these localities are too far over their skis with this kind of regulation, especially when you consider that there are people out there who need these animals to function within day-to-day life,” LaFave said.
House Bill 6295 has been referred to the House Local Government Committee for consideration.