Roseville joins animal control coalition

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published February 18, 2014

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ROSEVILLE — The Roseville City Council approved a resolution adjoining it to the Macomb Animal Control Coalition Feb. 11, which gives the city a voice as the coalition looks into animal control options beyond the Macomb County government.

The resolution does not give approval to a new animal control contract, City Attorney Tim Tomlinson stressed. It just allows Roseville to participate in looking at the other alternatives as a cost-savings measure following Macomb County fee increases last summer.

“There’s a lot of bad information flying around out there, but it’s clear if you look at the agreement,” Tomlinson said. “An agreement to change services can’t just go to the MACC, but before council.”

In other words, he said the city’s representative on the coalition, Police Chief James Berlin, cannot sign up the city for any new agreement without the agreement first coming before council for a vote.

Councilwoman Jan Haggerty asked about an email she had received that Macomb County had a grant that lets it spay and neuter cats for free, but Berlin said the deal was not all it was cracked up to be for the city.

“Cats are spayed for free for one year, but part of the agreement is to let them be re-released to our community, which is just one small issue we have with the county,” Berlin said. “So if we agree to the county contract, it brings animals back into this community, which for a whole host of reasons is bad.”

While City Manager Scott Adkins said that was an entirely separate issue from the vote Feb. 11, he said that dealing with stray animals was a complex issue with numerous components.

He said the health, safety and welfare of residents is important, as is handling the animals humanely. In weather like the area experienced this winter, he said it was “far more inhumane” to leave them out in the elements.

Roseville resident Amber Sitko spoke out against the interlocal agreement, wondering what the costs of contracting with a private veterinarian would be compared to the county, as well as how they would run it. She said there has not been any transparency on any proposed contracts through MACC.

She argued that a pet on the street has a much better chance of finding its way back home than if it is taken to a shelter. Furthermore, she was concerned that animals could be sold for research purposes from a private shelter.

Tomlinson said there are no contracts proposed yet with MACC cities and private veterinarians, and he reiterated that the city would have the final say on any such contracts.

He added that the coalition is not legally binding for any contracts, either — a majority of cities cannot force other members to adopt a contract. Each city would have to adopt a contract independently. Rather, the coalition allows them to negotiate and pool resources to get a good deal.

A city could withdraw at any time by submitting its withdrawal in writing, Adkins said, but the next step is looking at the contracts. There is no timeline for when that work would be completed.

“We will have legal counsel review various animal control contracts with the provider,” Adkins said. “The legal review of documents is the next step for specific veterinary services.”

As of last week, Eastpointe, Roseville, Sterling Heights and Warren are part of MACC. St. Clair Shores declined to join the interlocal agreement, but Adkins said he believed the city would still be willing to work with it independently.

When Eastpointe joined the MACC in December, it argued that it would save wear and tear on vehicles traveling to Mount Clemens and its animal shelter, and could also relieve a strain on county resources.

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