Current Michigan state law requires unlicensed dogs to be killed.

Simply not paying as little as $10 for a dog license could result in your local county government being forced to kill your dog, according to an antiquated Michigan state law that dates back to 1919.

The Dog Law of 1919 (Act 339) allows municipalities to do a survey to uncover who may have unlicensed dogs. Some counties in Michigan still do that. However, the law further states that any unlicensed dog is to be declared a “public nuisance” and directs a county treasurer that has compiled a list of unlicensed dogs to hand it over to the county’s prosecuting attorney. The law then states: “[T]he sheriff shall locate and kill, or cause to be killed, all such unlicensed dogs. Failure, refusal, or neglect on the part of a sheriff to carry out the provisions of this section constitutes nonfeasance in office.”

It’s not believed that any municipality has followed through on the section of the law requiring dogs to be killed. The Michigan Attorney General’s office reviewed the law at the request of Michigan Capitol Confidential and confirmed that the language was in the bill. But spokeswoman Joy Yearout said the Attorney General would not comment.

Larry Obrecht, the Oakland County animal control division manager, said he has been trying to change that part of the law that mandates using a county’s list of unlicensed dogs to kill them.

Stay Engaged

Receive our weekly emails!

“That should just be deleted,” said Obrecht, referring to the section that mandates the sheriff’s office locate and kill unlicensed dogs. “It shouldn’t be part of the law. That’s not what we do. … The danger is if somebody got a hold of that and sued the treasurer for not reporting it to the prosecutor.”

Obrecht said the state-sanctioned killing of unlicensed dogs was meant for a different era.

“But remember when it was written and the purpose of it,” he said. “In 1919, pack dogs were running around and eating your chickens, killing your hogs and taking down your cows. That would be devastating.”

Jack McHugh, legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said there are too many laws on the books.

“Not that they should pass any more regulations, but if they do, this law is more evidence that for every new one adopted, two or three should be repealed,” McHugh said. “The statute books are over-cluttered with dinosaur regulations from past eras.”


See also:

Messages from Space Needed to Remove Logs from Michigan Lakes

Taxing Canoes and Kayaks

New Bill Aimed at Easing Fees, Regulations and Licensing Imposed on Businesses


Related Articles:

Don’t Impose Granholm-era Mandates on Michigan Energy

Pension Officials Mislead Lawmakers

December 2, 2016 MichiganVotes Weekly Roll Call Report

More Than 18,000 in Michigan Voted Without a Photo ID This Election

Bill Closing Possible Loophole In Photo ID Voting Law May Be On Fast Track

Legacy Society

Stay Engaged

Simply enter your email below to receive our weekly email:


Workers who chose to leave unions want to fend for themselves but current law requires unions in union shops to negotiate their pay and work conditions. "Worker's Choice" gives employees the freedom to choose representation.

Related Sites