FERNDALE — The city’s new pet boarding ordinance will be put into effect later this year when a popular doggie daycare facility opens a second location in Ferndale.
Canine to Five, a pet care facility that currently operates in midtown Detroit, is ready to expand its operations. According to owner Liz Blondy, the business is scheduled to open Dec. 15 in a 4,700-square-foot former billiards hall located at 2141 Hilton Road, five blocks north of Nine Mile Road.
“I just really like the Ferndale community, so I’m looking forward to opening a second location there,” Blondy said. “Things are going really well for us over here in midtown, so we knew that it was time to expand. We’ve received a really great response so far from people in Ferndale.”
Canine to Five’s Ferndale location will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The facility will offer daily doggie daycare services in its cage-free, climate-controlled indoor space and its secure, fenced-in outdoor play area. Within six months, Blondy plans to expand the business’ services to include dog grooming and overnight pet boarding. She also hopes to open the facility one day a week as a play area that she describes as a “mini dog park.”
Blondy said that she will be able to house between 50 and 70 dogs at one time with Canine to Five’s doggie daycare service, as well as about 40 more dogs in its upstairs pet boarding area.
Businesses like Blondy’s are a new phenomenon in Ferndale. In July, the Ferndale City Council adopted a pet boarding ordinance allowing such facilities to operate in the city’s light industrial and general industrial districts, but not in its general commercial, office service or mixed-use districts.
According to Community and Economic Development Director Derek Delacourt, after receiving a request from Blondy to open her business in Ferndale, city staff discovered that the previous zoning ordinance did not permit kennels or doggy daycare facilities to operate anywhere in the city. While it allowed pet boarding to take place as an accessory use at veterinarian offices or dog-grooming businesses, it did not allow for businesses in which pet boarding is the primary use.
In addition to limiting pet boarding facilities to the city’s industrial districts, the new ordinance includes setback criteria requiring all outdoor play areas to be located at least 50 feet from any residential properties. It also restricts businesses from housing animals for more than 30 days and requires all animals to be confined inside the building between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
“I think the council and the Planning Commission did a terrific job of evaluating this ordinance,” Delacourt said. “The process worked exactly the way that it’s supposed to, which was great to see. It’s always nice when cities see that there’s a desire for a particular use, and then they make the changes necessary to allow for that use.”
Delacourt explained that, although Hilton is one of Ferndale’s major roads, the stretch between Woodward Heights Boulevard and Academy Street is zoned industrial, with the exception of the corner of Nine Mile and Hilton. Still, he noted that Canine to Five is the only doggie daycare business so far to submit a formal request to the city.
Pet boarding facilities sometimes stir up concerns about increased noise levels and foul odors, but Blondy insisted that her business does not have these issues.
“We really try to keep things quiet for the sanity of our workers and for the safety of the entire pack,” she said. “A room full of barking dogs is just not safe for other dogs, so we try to minimize that. As far as the smell goes, we have very rigorous cleaning methods at our Detroit location, and we will carry those over to Ferndale.”
This summer, when Ferndale was considering adopting a pet boarding ordinance, City Councilwoman Melanie Piana took a tour of the business’ Detroit location and was impressed by what she saw.
“I believe that Liz will be a great new business owner for the Ferndale community,” Piana said. “I’m really happy to hear that she is going to be expanding her business to Ferndale in an appropriate location. And I definitely feel like we have all the necessary protections in place to make sure that this new use is a good one for the city.”
For her part, Blondy cannot wait to open for business in Ferndale and continue growing Canine to Five into a brand that’s well-known throughout the region.
“I’m a huge dog lover, so I just love spending my day with dogs,” she said. “I really look forward to meeting new dogs and new dog owners in Ferndale and providing the same high-quality services that we’ve provided in midtown for the last seven years now.”
For more information on Canine to Five, call (313) 831-DOGS or visit www.caninetofivedetroit.com.
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