Dog Owner, Rescue Group Fighting City Ordinance Say Pooch Is An American Bulldog, Not A Pit Bull

Image courtesy of Detroit Dog Rescue

What difference does it make if your dog is one breed or another? In cities that have breed-specific legislation on the books, it can mean the difference between keeping your pet and saying goodbye to a beloved pal.

A Michigan man and his rescue pooch who became famous last week for their matched happy grins are now, along with the Detroit Dog Rescue, having to prove to the city that the dog doesn’t violate an ordinance banning pit bulls and pit bull mixes, the Detroit News reports.

Waterford Township police officers were dispatched to the new home of Sir Wiggleton, renamed Diggy after his adoption last week, to follow up on “phone calls alleging the dog is a pit bull and therefore violates city ordinance,” Detroit Dog Rescue officials said in a statement. “Based on their visual inspection, they concluded he was a pit bull.”

The town has breed-specific legislation, or BSL, on the books [PDF] that prohibits dogs with characteristics that “substantially conform to the breed standards established by the American Kennel Club for American Staffordshire Terriers or Staffordshire Bull Terriers,” the Washington Post notes.

But the group and his owner maintain Digg isn’t a pit bull, he’s an American bulldog, and as such should remain home. The rescue organization says the owner “had registered and obtained a proper license from Waterford Township, explained [the dog] is an American bulldog and not a pit bull,” rescue officials said in a statement.

Detroit Dog Rescue says paperwork from the dog’s rescue, Detroit Animal Control, and the city’s veterinarian all indicate that Diggy is an American bulldog. If that turns out to be the case, Diggy can stay, a police rep told the Detroit News.

“If he can show that it’s not (a pit bull), then it’ll be fine,” he said. “He just has to keep those papers on him because his neighbors are gonna keep calling.”