Waterford Twp's police enforce pit bull ordinance amid controversy

Image 1 of 3

A Michigan man's viral photo of him and his new dog - who seems to be smiling - went viral this week. And it led to police at his door telling him that he needs to get his dog out of town.

Dan Tillery adopted Sir Wiggleton earlier this week from the Detroit Dog Rescue. The dog, who he claims is an American Bulldog, was at the shelter for almost 100 days. Now, the city is threatening to take the pet away because they believe he's a pit bull.

"I follow the rules. I follow the law. I want to keep Diggy," Dan said. "I just believes it starts from bitterness. The dog has been smiling and licking face since his existence here."

The Detroit Dog Rescue posted the picture of Dan and his new dog celebrating the adoption. It's been shared thousands of times and has been picked up on national platforms as well. Dan brought his dog home and renamed him 'Diggy'. Then the cops showed up.

"Somebody complained about the dog in the neighborhood. We responded to it and we determined that the dog met the criteria of the ordinance in terms of not being allowed in the township," Waterford Township Police Lt Scott Good said.

It's not just Dan who says the dog isn't a pit bull, the Detroit Dog Rescue says they even called the city to make sure it was okay for Dan to adopt the dog.

"Not only did we make sure his paperwork said American Bulldog, we also called the clerk and said what are your restrictions on American Bulldogs, we want to adopt one out in your township," Kristina Rinaldi said.

The city says the dog violates the city's dangerous dog/pit bull ordinance. Based on the officer's observations, it was determined the dog was part pit bull/pit bull terrier. For that reason, the city says he has to leave the city or Dan could be fined $500.

"They said we're dog lovers, he seems like a good boy. Took some pictures of him and then called an hour later and said he looks like a pit. He's got to go," Dan said.

"Most of us if not all of us are pet lovers. We understand that relationship but we are empowered to enforce and carry out the laws of the township and state so this is one of the things we have to do," Lt. Good said.

The ordinance has been on the books in the city for years and it states that it's at the officers discretion to decide of the dog is a pit bull and up to the owner to prove otherwise.

According to a press release from the city, they did not issue a citation but did advise that the dog must be out of the city by June 13. The press release states that the dog is expected to be out of the city by Monday.

Dan says if he gets a citation, he will fight it because this is a case of mistaken identity.

Dan says he has papers from DDR, Detroit Animal Control and Welfare and their veterinarian that state Diggy's breed as American bulldog.