New Eastpointe pet laws address shelter, spaying and neutering, petting zoos

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 10, 2020

  New regulations approved by the Eastpointe City Council are meant to give Eastpointe Animal Control Officer Brian Pylar new tools to help animals such as this white pit bull mix that he said was recovered with a broken hip and required surgery.

New regulations approved by the Eastpointe City Council are meant to give Eastpointe Animal Control Officer Brian Pylar new tools to help animals such as this white pit bull mix that he said was recovered with a broken hip and required surgery.

Photo provided by Brian Pylar

  Eastpointe Animal Control Officer Brian Pylar hopes that new regulations will help animals such as this Yorkie that was found running as a stray during

Eastpointe Animal Control Officer Brian Pylar hopes that new regulations will help animals such as this Yorkie that was found running as a stray during

Photo provided by Brian Pylar

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EASTPOINTE — The Eastpointe City Council approved several ordinance changes meant to help the city’s animal control in its duties.

The changes were approved at the Dec. 17 City Council meeting by a unanimous vote. They went into effect 10 days after approval.

“These rules will make sure people and animals are safe,” said Mayor Monique Owens, who voted in support of the changes. “This will help make sure animals aren’t being neglected, people aren’t at risk of being bitten and no one is in danger.”

The changes were brought to the council’s attention by Animal Control Officer Brian Pylar.

“When I first came here in November of 2018, I kind of sat back and observed. I went on runs and I documented what I was seeing,” Pylar explained. “I quickly identified the common complaints and issues. These are the matters these new ordinance changes address.”

Pylar said the biggest thing he was glad the city could address was animals being left outside in bad weather or in inadequate shelter.

“We put a time limit on when dogs can be housed outdoors between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. year-round,” Pylar said. “Sheds and garages are no longer considered adequate shelter in Eastpointe. We got a lot of calls about animals in sheds and garages in the last year, because it’s not considered adequate shelter. Adequate shelter is windproof and has straw on the ground. In the evenings, all dogs are to be brought inside.”

These ordinance changes also will dictate in what weather pets can be left outside unsupervised.

“When a weather advisory is in place and the weather is below 43 degrees or above 82 degrees, windchill and heat index included, pets cannot be left outside for an unmonitored amount of time,” said Pylar. “Obviously, you can still take your dog out, but they have to be supervised when you do during that time period.”

Pylar said he also wanted the city to address chaining dogs up. He said he had come across several cases where dogs were chained up in ways that were harming the dog.

“We got rid of the use of chains as a form of tie-ups,” he said. “The majority of what we see is medium-sized animals in these chains, and that is cruel. If it’s done properly, it’s OK, but this means a specific, properly made chain for dogs. Using chains for things like towing can harm the animal.”

The new rules state that people cannot own more than three dogs unless they already had the animals before these new changes were put in place.

“Kennel permits were eliminated,” said Pylar. “The ordinances used to allow up to six dogs. If you had more than two dogs, you needed a kennel permit from City Hall. Because our animal control efforts were lacking in the past, these permits pretty much all got approved. Now the regular limit is increased to three dogs, but we will not give new kennel permits. Only those who already have them are allowed to keep dogs above that number, because their old kennel permits are being grandfathered in.”

The new changes also include requirements to spay or neuter pets.

“A requirement to spay or neuter also was added,” Pylar said. “This focuses on hobby breeding. A lot of calls I go on are addressing what is called ‘backyard breeding.’ They breed dogs in their home and then they sell the puppies. Without owning a licensed pet shop, no one is supposed to be breeding dogs in Eastpointe. There are a few exceptions people can apply for. This would be situations like you have a show dog, but proof such as certificates or paperwork from kennel clubs is required.”

The new regulations also are cracking down on unregulated petting zoos in Eastpointe.

“We also added that there will be no unregulated petting zoos,” Pylar said. “A regulated petting zoo is licensed by the (United States Department of Agriculture), their animals receive veterinary evaluations and medical care. An unregulated petting zoo does not have those stipulations.”

Pylar will discuss these changes further and answer questions from the community at the upcoming neighborhood watch meeting taking place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at City Hall, 23200 Gratiot Ave. The city also will be mailing descriptions of these changes to people in their next water bill.

Owens said the City Council takes matters involving the pets of Eastpointe residents seriously and that she believes these changes will make a positive difference in the community.

“I listen to our experienced people, and things Officer Pylar talked about were things I have personally seen,” she said. “We’ve had animals left out in the cold. I had to take care of a neighborhood dog after its owners went on vacation and left him outside. To make sure people are doing what they should do, you sometimes have to make rules to ensure it happens.”

Pylar thinks this will not only make his job easier, but will also improve the quality of life in Eastpointe for pets and people.

“Everyone I’ve spoken to in the community was supportive of this,” he said. “I think we left a lot of these rules open ended so people can decide how to be responsible and considerate. These specific rules address complaints and issues that have been particularly affecting Eastpointe, so hopefully this will solve some problems people have been having in the community.”

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