DETROIT (AP) – Plans are in the works to transfer duties of Detroit’s animal control division to the police department.
The move is part of outsourcing of the city’s health department by Mayor Dave Bing, who is working to cut costs and consolidate city government.
Under the deal, approximately six animal control officers would be transferred to the police department. Officials say the plan isn’t expected to change the location of animal control programs.
The city said it plans to offer additional information when the move is finalized by City Council.
Animal rights groups say the change offers an opportunity to fix the city’s growing problem of stray and dangerous dogs.
“This is a chance for (the city) to potentially save face and become a new and improved Detroit Animal Control,” Daniel Carlisle of Detroit Dog Rescue, a nonprofit seeking to construct the city’s first no-kill dog shelter, told The Detroit News.
“Now (that they are in transition), this is a great time for them to repair relations with the animal-rescue community and the residents of Detroit. They’ve been cut so bad, now is the time more than ever for them to recognize what we do in the community. They have to consider joint ventures,” Carlisle said.
But not everyone is behind the move. Jen Clarkston, president of Detroit-based nonprofit Dog Aide, said police in the city have too many issues and not enough manpower to deal with animal control.
“We know the police department is taxed and having issues trying to maintain the duties they have in front of them,” she told The Detroit News.
Clarkston said as an alternative to transferring the responsibility to police, she favors establishing a nonprofit wing to the city’s animal control division that would raise adequate funds for the cause.
The city spent about $1.7 million in 2011 for animal control.
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