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      Aggressive animal laws under review in Ishpeming

      It was a typical summer morning, and Ishpeming resident Wade Grady let one of his family's cats outside their front door.

      "Thirty seconds later, we could hear this 'thump thump thump' underneath the porch," he recalled. "Underneath there, I just saw this dog shaking my cat."

      Grady told his wife to call the police.

      "The owner had just gotten the dog a few days prior from a shelter," said Ishpeming Police Chief Dan Willey. "The owner of the pit bull was cited for letting his dog run at large. It was a serious situation."

      "I still see it like it was yesterday," Grady added.

      Around the same time in the summer, Brian Sarvello's mother was on her daily walk with her poodle to a convenience store two blocks from her house.

      "As she was coming out of the door, there was a pit bull standing here and it attacked her dog and it eventually killed her dog," said Sarvello, while standing in front of Elaine's Place, on the corner of Third and Vine Streets in Ishpeming.

      While Sarvello felt badly for his mother, his mind was on his grandchildren, who often walk with their grandma to the store.

      "It could have been just as easily one of them who would have been attacked," he said.

      Sarvello said there were four or five other reports of animals attacking other animals in the city during the latter part of the summer.

      The lifelong Ishpeming resident saw a pattern and brought his concerns to the Ishpeming City Council, who formed a committee on the issue. They are looking at current ordinances and what, if anything, could be added or changed.

      Willey said that dogs older than six months have to be registered with the city and wear the registration information on their collars. He also said it's illegal for animals to stray from their owners' yards. In addition, there are statewide laws regarding aggressive animals.

      Eileen Racine, the committee chairwoman, a city council member and owner of Eileen's Place, said many ideas are being discussed, including a muzzle ordinance.

      "We're worried about being breed specific, we don't know if that will work," said Racine. "We don't know if we should go with the weight of an animal, if that would work. There are a lot of issues and the questions are not easy to answer."

      Racine underscored what Sarvello said; the group is trying to be proactive to address the issue before a child is involved in a pet attack in their city.

      In the meantime, Grady has advice for pet owners.

      "Anyone who owns any animal, I don't care if it's a poodle, it could be any small dog, big dog, whatever, it should be on a leash, 24/7, whether it's in your own yard, because some dogs can jump over a fence," he said.