Hazel Park neighbors, pitbull owners working together to repeal breed ban

A woman credits her pitbull for saving her from the attack of an abusive boyfriend, but now she's being forced to give up her beloved pet because of a ban on the breed in Hazel Park.  

Pitbull advocates like Courtney Protz-Sanders from Michigan's PAC for Animals and several residents from Hazel Park have started the fight to repeal the ban. They packed the city council meeting Tuesday night to defend a breed which continues to be under fire.

"I think that's upsetting to everyone, and I think it was the impetus to get this conversation started," says Protz-Sanders.

"It's not a situation of the type of dog, it's the situation of the type of environment," says pitbull owner Alissa Sullivan.

One after another spoke about how the dogs are misidentified, saying  the owners are at fault, not the breed, and how all dogs should be treated equally.

"It makes me sad for her; it makes me sad for the dog; makes me sad for the city I live in because I think they are sending the wrong message," says Sullivan.

"It's all about how you train your dog and the respect you give the dog and the dog gives you. It's not necessarily about the breed," says pitbull owner and groomer Kiley Loy.

"A blanket discrimination ban just doesn't work. It doesn't lower dog bites," says Protz-Sanders.

But City manager Ed Klobucher believes it has, and points to a handy graph that shows in Hazel Park there were more dog bites from pitbulls than from any other breed.

"It's obvious that the pitbull is a more dangerous breed, but not all pitbulls are dangerous. We are open to other solutions that might help achieve objective of residents safety, but we are safer now with the ban as it stands," says Hazel Park City Manager Ed Klobucher.

In the end, the city council decided to host a work session where council members would listen to suggestions by pitbull advocates and trainers, and possibly consider an alternative to the ban. Although, the city manager admits they did try a non-specific breed ordinance in the past and that didn't work.

"The victim's story is tragic. We're glad the dog did its job and protected her and saved her life, and prevented her from further injury. It is the story that's bringing this community together to hopefully bring a solution," says Protz-Sanders.