Twp. board amending violent dog and street soliciting ordinances

FLINT TWP. — Two ordinance amendments coming up for a second reading and possible adoption by the township board at its October 2 meeting concern vicious dogs and street soliciting.

The latter is to bring the township’s Traffic Safety ordinance into compliance with new state laws. The township passed the controversial Traffic Safety Ordinance in January of 2015 to counter a growing problem with panhandlers on street corners. In effect since March 1, 2015, the ordinance regulates interference with motor vehicles on public streets by prohibiting money or any other object to be passed, without authorization, from or into a motor vehicle operating on a public street, except for emergency services and repairs.

The upcoming ordinance amendment will make allowances for charitable organizations such as the Old Newsboys to continue street solicitations.

The amendment of the Interference with Motor Vehicles on Public Streets code will allow charitable and civic groups to solicit during daylight hours. Solicitors must be 18 years old and wearing high-visibility safety apparel. They cannot operate in a work zone and must be at intersections where there is a traffic control device. The ordinance language also exonerates the township of all liability and requires the soliciting organization to carry $500,000 in liability insurance. The group also must obtain a soliciting permit from the township.

The ordinance also defines what is considered a civic or charitable organization.

During first reading, board members had a brief discussion about what is meant by daylight hours and suggested adding a time limit to the ordinance such as dawn to dusk or 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The second amendment under consideration would repeal a section of vicious dog ordinance. That section covers the definition of a vicious dog as one that has previously attacked or bitten a human being or other domestic animal. It includes reporting requirements that vicious dog owners provide the township with proof of $100,000 in liability insurance, provide to the township clerk two color photographs of the animal, promptly report incidents involving the dog including attacks, giving birth or being stolen.

During first reading, the township board held a limited discussion about the proposed ordinance amendment. The board did not discuss why the ordinance is being repealed or if anything else will replace it.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller asked Police Chief George Sippert if his department keeps track of vicious dog attacks. He said no. Police may respond to vicious dog complaints but does not maintain records of them, he said, adding that reports currently are made to the township clerk and that Animal Control also is called in for complaints.

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