Oakland County Animal Control to begin servicing Pleasant Ridge

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published April 16, 2014

PLEASANT RIDGE — Without a proper place to house stray dogs, and with city officials having taken home those dogs on a few occasions, the Pleasant Ridge City Commission recently decided to take the burden off the Police Department.

During the April 8 commission meeting, the City Commission voted to turn over animal control services from the Pleasant Ridge police to the Oakland County Animal Control division.

In order to do so, city officials had to remove certain aspects of the animal ordinances that were in conflict with the Michigan State Dog Law.

“We have a number of dogs that we will pick up over the year that are either stray or get out of a yard, but the city doesn’t have a licensed kennel necessarily to house the dogs when we pick them up,” interim City Manager Scott Pietrzak said. “So we keep them in the Police Department for a little while and then either find a shelter to take the animal or an employee might take the dog home, which is not the best thing for the dog or the police officers getting the animals.

“We had to figure a way to partner with somebody to get the animal control, and Oakland County provides the service for a number of communities.”

City officials had to remove numerous portions of the animal ordinance, such as prohibiting vicious animals, authority-authorized euthanasia and poisoning, as the state’s dog law already covers each section of the local ordinance.

Officials also had to eliminate city dog licenses, as the county will now cover the licenses. The price is the same for dogs that are spayed or neutered at $7.50, but it doubles to $15 for those that are not.

Residents also will now have the option to purchase a three-year license as opposed to renewing it every year through the city.

“It will actually be a nicer process for residents, and those that have their dog spayed or neutered, they have the same price,” Pietrzak said. “If the dog is not spayed or neutered, it is a little more because the county promotes that part of animal safety. And now, through the county, you can get a three-year license and purchase it online, as well.”

Licenses still can be purchased at the Pleasant Ridge Police Department, but now the money collected will be handed over to the county. Pietrzak said the city annually spends more money on animal control than it receives in licenses, so they will not be losing money by turning over licensing.

The process of responding to a stray dog will be the same for the Pleasant Ridge police, as they will still pick up dogs that are reported or found, but once at the police station, they will call an Oakland County Animal Control officer to pick up the animal. The city will have 10 full-time and three part-time officers helping to enforce the state’s dog law.

By rescinding the portions of the city’s animal ordinance, the county’s animal control division automatically takes over the city’s duties, so it costs Pleasant Ridge nothing to have the collaboration, Pietrzak said.

“This situation is a win-win for us, because we are not trying to find somebody to take the dog overnight or trying to provide for the animal, who could have medical issues we don’t know about,” Pietrzak said. “If the dog has a tag, we will locate the owner, but now we can call the county as soon as we find a dog and they will send someone to receive it. We are just being a responsible city and acting responsibly for the dogs.”

Bob Gatt, the Oakland County Animal Control manager, said the center in Auburn Hills brings in around 5,000 animals a year and has the highest no-kill rate of any animal control agency in the state.

By partnering with the city of Pleasant Ridge, Gatt said the dogs will be better taken care of and it takes a burden off the city.

“I think that the Oakland County Animal Control is a very professional organization with all the resources behind them that the county can provide, so we can provide a great service to the residents of Pleasant Ridge,” Gatt said. “We are one of the premier animal control agencies in the state of Michigan, and we have the most professionally trained officers and staff members, so we can provide a service second to none to the residents.

“We are very happy to do this and look forward to a very strong and healthy relationship between us and the city.”

For more information on the Oakland County Animal Control division, call (248) 391-4102.