Eastpointe changes animal control veterinary services

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 24, 2016

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EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe City Council voted 4-0 at its meeting May 17 to end animal control veterinary services with East Detroit Animal Hospital and Eastpointe Animal Hospital and return to using the Animal Care Hospital of Sterling Heights.

Public Safety Director John McNeilance said that the city had previously used Animal Care Hospital after the Macomb County Animal Shelter raised its fees beyond what the city had wanted to pay. The city ran into the same problem with Sterling Heights, however.

“The reason we didn’t go with them last time is that they found they had to increase fees to make it viable,” McNeilance said. “So we have to accept those fees (this time).”

He said that ultimately, using those two local providers over the past year has not gone well for either the city or the animal hospitals, so it is a mutual break. East Detroit Animal Hospital issued no comment; Eastpointe Animal Hospital did not respond by press time.

McNeilance added that he wanted to return to the Macomb County Animal Shelter — accepting those fee increases the city had tried to avoid initially — but was told that due to lack of funding and facility space, it was unable to take animals from Eastpointe at this time.

“(Animal Care Hospital of Sterling Heights is) a licensed shelter in the state, and they also service the city of Roseville and handle their shelter needs as well,” McNeilance added.

City Manager Steve Duchane said the agreement went into effect immediately after council approved it. He said the financial issues — specifically, the cost and hoping for a better deal elsewhere — were the main reasons why the city had initially left Animal Care Hospital of Sterling Heights.

Duchane acknowledged that there were other operational concerns from some residents regarding animal euthanization at Animal Care Hospital, which will perform the procedure if it is deemed necessary. However, Duchane said that the animal control workers still have to go out and do their jobs dealing with injured, abandoned and wild animals every day, whatever their own philosophy and views are.

“We’re a real animal-compassionate city,” he said. “We’re driven by people who really care about animals — certainly myself included — and I think it is difficult to balance those concerns with the realities. Nobody wants to see animals euthanized, but at some point, however, when they can’t be adopted or they can’t be economically physically treated, those things happen.

“We want a perfect world where no animals get put down, but frankly, that’s not always responsible and reasonable,” Duchane said.

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