Michigan Dog Owners Must Need to Know These 3 Laws

Michigan is a great place for dog lovers, with laws in place to protect both dogs and people from issues like bites, attacks, and disturbances caused by dogs. It’s important for every dog owner in the state to become familiar with these regulations. Below are three important laws that Michigan dog owners should know:

Responsibilities for Vaccination and Licensing

According to the Dog Law of 1919, dogs that are six months old and above need to get rabies shots and a license from their local government. Owners need to provide proof of vaccination and pay the necessary fee to obtain a license. License renewal happens every year or every two years, depending on the city. All dogs must wear a collar with a tag that shows their license number and the owner’s name, except during legal hunting or training. Failure to comply could lead to fines, impoundment, or, in extreme situations, euthanasia.

Guidelines for Using Leashes and Tethers

While Michigan does not have a statewide leash law, many cities and townships have their own rules requiring dogs to be leashed or properly restrained when not on their owner’s property. There are exceptions for working dogs such as guide dogs, guard dogs, farm dogs, and hunting dogs that are performing their duties under the owner’s supervision. Furthermore, female dogs in heat should be kept on a leash outside the owner’s property, regardless of local leash regulations.

Regulations govern tethering or chaining a dog outdoors, based on state law and specific local ordinances. As per Penal Code 750.50, the leash should be a minimum of three times the length of the dog’s body to allow for unrestricted movement within the tethered space. It should be attached to a properly fitting collar or harness to keep the dog comfortable. It is important to have sufficient supplies of food, water, shelter, and veterinary care available. It is not allowed to tether animals for more than seven hours a day or in severe weather conditions. Violators will face charges and penalties for animal cruelty.

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Who is Responsible for a Dog Bite?

Michigan follows strict liability rules for dog bite cases. Owners are responsible for any damages caused by their dog if it bites or attacks someone or another animal without being provoked, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s carelessness. Defenses are restricted to demonstrating that the victim was trespassing, engaging in criminal activity, or provoking the dog. Owners could potentially be charged with a crime if their dog is considered dangerous or vicious, or if they do not follow containment and control rules.

Following these regulations guarantees the well-being of dogs and the security of all individuals. To get more information about local laws, you can contact your area’s animal control agency or consult with a legal professional.


Michigan has strict dog laws to protect both dogs and people from issues like bites, attacks, and disturbances. Dog owners must follow vaccination and licensing requirements, wear a collar with a tag, and follow guidelines for leashes and tethering. Owners are responsible for damages caused by their dog if it bites or attacks without being provoked. Michigan also has strict liability rules for dog bite cases.

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