City council votes to have third reading of dangerous dog ordinance

Council discusses adopting Juneteenth as city holiday.

While reviewing the city’s dangerous dog ordinance at its Oct. 5 meeting, city council decided that it couldn’t put a leash around a key canine definition and voted to have a third reading at its next gathering on Oct. 19.

During the Oct. 5 second reading of the animal code, which included changes to the ordinance following the first reading on Aug. 31, it was decided that a closer look was needed regarding the definition of “dangerous dog.” The ordinance clarifies dangerous dog classifications in order to protect the public, according to the city.

In the ordinance, the definition stands at: “a dog that inflicts severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property; kills a domestic animal without provocation while the dog is off the owner’s property; or has been previously found to be potentially dangerous because of injury inflicted on a human, the owner having received notice of such and the dog again aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans.”

Councilmember Jake Jacobson strongly pushed for a more comprehensive look at a portion of the ordinance and noted that there are inconsistencies between the definitions of a dangerous dog and a potentially dangerous dog. Special counsel Eileen Keiffer noted that the definitions are derived from state law.

Key changes to the ordinance as discussed at the meeting were adjusting the dangerous dog registration fee to $250 for the remainder of the year within the city’s fee schedule; allowing an owner to request a review after two years for a potentially dangerous dog who has not committed any other offenses under the city code; and clarifying the types of evidence that may be used in a potentially dangerous dog finding, including photographs and medical reports.


Following a first reading of an ordinance on Oct. 5 amending a section of the city code to establish Juneteenth as a city holiday, city council passed a motion for a second reading and adoption on Oct. 19 or soon thereafter.

City attorney Bio Park noted that the city is conforming with Gov. Jay Inslee’s declaration in May to make Junteenth a state holiday starting in 2022. City manager Jessi Bon said some staff members are working on a Juneteenth celebration for next year.

“For the past two years, we’ve been collaborating with ONE MI on Juneteenth installations at Mercerdale Park. We anticipate that work to continue. In fact, we’re talking about how the event or installation might evolve this coming June,” Bon said about the important day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

Last June, ONE MI and the city invited residents to engage in the conversation of “What Freedom Means to Me.” In the week leading up to Juneteenth on June 19, they launched a public art installation alongside large eye-catching signs emblazoned with bold red and green lettering on the north border of Mercerdale Park.