A city ordinance is being discussed that could affect all non-domesticated animals. Animal owners should attend the next City Commission meeting and contact local officials to prevent overreach. There is a recent article below.
City Commission Meeting
Date: April 25, 2022
Time: 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Location: Commission Chambers – Room 121
203 S Troy St
Royal Oak, MI 48067
NOTE: This item does not appear on the posted agenda but local residents should still attend the meeting and let the Commissioners know there are many affected pet owners in Royal Oak.
Find phone numbers at City Commission | Royal Oak, MI.
Remember to be civil and professional at all times!
article: African cat escapees spur new ordinance proposal in Royal Oak
Six months after African caracal cats escaped from a local woman’s backyard enclosure, Royal Oak has a proposed ordinance to ban them and other non-domestic animals.
City commissioners will discuss the new measure, and possibly request changes to the proposed ordinance, at their meeting Monday. Commissioners in November enacted a six-month moratorium on owners having non-domestic animals, including African caracal cats.
The Royal Oak woman who owned four caracal cats that created a stir in the city and beyond last October has since moved away. The escape and eventual capture of one the animals Oct. 13 drew wide attention throughout the region. Police at the time said some of the other caracals had gotten loose before. City Manager Paul Brake said the city did an anonymous online survey to which more about 300 residents responded on the issue of non-domestic animals.
“Most of the people are against any sort of breeding” of non-domestic animals, Brake said. There were indications that the owner of the caracals was breeding them. Caracals are not banned in Michigan, but larger wild animals such as lions, tigers, cheetahs and others are.
“The state Home Rules Act allows cities to ban some things, including certain animals, that are not banned by the state,” Brake said. Most communities in the state don’t have local laws on their books covering non-domestic animals.
Three-quarters of the survey respondents indicated they support Royal Oak having a local ordinance that addresses residents having wild, exotic and non-domestic animals. The proposed ordinance includes a wide range of non-domestic animals that would be prohibited under the new rules. Those animals include everything from lions, bobcats and leopards to wild canines such wolves, foxes, dingoes and jackals. Also facing bans are any poisonous or venomous animal, and non-native and “inherently dangerous animal including, but not limited to members of the reptile, amphibian, or primate families.”
The ordinance allows exceptions for a wildlife rehabilitator who temporarily cares for an animal, the Detroit Zoo and licensed zoological parks, aquariums and veterinary care facilities. Also, it proposes owners of some city-banned animals may get an exception if they qualify for an annual city license until the animal is moved from the city or dies. But they would have to maintain liability insurance of at least $1 million on the license-exempted animals. Violation of the pending animal ordinance would be a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail. Non-domestic animals that bite, attack or come into contact with a person or a lawfully owned animal can be seized immediately and euthanized with a court order. The owners would be liable for city costs when employees or other agencies have to search, capture and oversee any non-domestic animal. Brake noted the city had to devote a lot of time and resources to capture the African caracal that got loose Oct. 13.
“If we are going to spend a lot of money on people who can’t take care of their animals,” Brake said, “the owner is going to be paying.”
Mayor Fournier and Royal Oak City Commissioners,
As a responsible pet owner and Royal Oak resident, I ask that the City work with those affected if you plan to pass a new ordinance regarding non-domesticated or exotic animals. For pet reptiles alone, there are statistically over 3,000 pet owners in Royal Oak. With the many other non-domesticated animals commonly kept as pets, over 10,000 people in Royal Oak could be affected.
Animal welfare and public safety should be the priorities and not the unjust punishment of responsible animal owners due to a lack of forethought and research. There are many common-sense approaches to this issue. Please work with actual experts and local animal owners rather than passing an overreaching law. Thank you and have a good day.