Know the Law – Michigan Leash and Dog Bite Laws

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With ice, snow, and treacherous weather out there, this time of year it’s especially easy to fail to comply with the Michigan leash law. It’s much easier letting your pet outside quickly for a run around the yard, instead of accompanying them on-leash. Tom Sinas, Grand Rapids personal injury attorney, understands the danger of this and explains the importance of following all laws regarding pet ownership in Michigan.

Michigan Leash Law
Michigan has a 100-year-old statute stating you must leash your dog when it’s in public. Some cities have even more specific laws, like how long the leash must be, for example. Different locales have different rules, so always be sure to know what the ordinances are where you live. Michigan leash law is very clear about dogs being under the physical control of their owner.

Licensing Dogs in Michigan
You are required to license any dog older than six months. Licensing specifics, however, vary from place to place. Kent County residents must license their dogs at the Kent County Animal Shelter. Upon licensing the dog, it must be wearing the license in the form of a tag on its collar at all times.

Strict Liability and Dog Bites
AS the dog owner, you are liable for any damages that occur when your pet bites another person. Some states have one or two free bites for dogs who aren’t known to be aggressive. However, this isn’t the case in Michigan. If this unfortunate incidence occurs, you need to ensure dog bites are covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Trespassing and provoking the dog are two defenses to liability a dog owner may try to use, but it can be a complicated legal process and is always on a case-by-case basis.

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