Royal Oak finally has a new animal ordinance following African cat escapes – Daily Tribune
Royal Oak staff and officials have walked a 10-month trail to put a new animal ordinance in place.
City commissioners passed the updated ordinance on Monday, which was spurred after African caracal cats escaped from a local woman’s enclosure in October 2021.
The woman, who no longer lives in the city, owned four caracal cats which caused a stir throughout the city and region.
The escape and eventual capture of one of the non-domestic exotic animals on October 13 angered many locals. At the time, police said some of the other caracals had already escaped.
“Until almost a year ago, most people here wouldn’t have known what a caracal cat was,” City Commissioner Brandon Kolo said. “Our animal ordinance up to this point was for horses, cows, chickens and dangerous dogs.”
The species of animals in the new ordinance have expanded considerably beyond domestic garden variety cats and dogs.
Besides these familiar pets, Royal Oak’s new measure lists a range of non-domestic cats, dogs, wolf-dog hybrids, primates, snakes, lizards, crocodilians and poisonous or poisonous animals. .
These non-domesticated creatures are now mostly banned in the city, especially those already banned by federal or state law.
There is a temporary escape hatch for responsible owners of these animals to keep them until they die, provided they register them with the city. Once the banned animals die or are moved from town, another will not be allowed to replace it.
But if the animals are not registered or cause an incident, they will be considered dangerous and will have to be moved.
Owners of prohibited animals who obtain annual licenses will also be required to carry liability insurance of at least $1 million.
Non-domestic animals that bite, attack, or come into contact with a legally owned person or animal may be seized immediately and euthanized by court order. Owners would be responsible for city fees when employees or other agencies need to search, capture and monitor any non-domestic animals.
Violating the animal-in-waiting ordinance would be a criminal offense, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and 90 days in jail.
From August 18, when the new animal ordinance takes effect, owners of banned animals will have 120 days to register them.
City Commissioner Kyle DuBuc suggested that city staff develop a communications plan to inform residents of the new municipal measure.
“I think we have a pretty solid order here,” Mayor Michael Fournier said.
The law allows exceptions for a wildlife rehabilitator who temporarily cares for an animal, the Detroit Zoo and licensed zoological parks, aquariums and veterinary care facilities.
Most cities in Michigan do not have local laws on their books regarding non-domestic animals.
The city is also setting up an animal review board under the new ordinance. Its three members include the city manager, the chief of police and a resident who will be appointed.
Kolo said the city will have an idea of the number of non-domestic animals in the city when they need to be registered over the next four months.
“I don’t think we’re going to find a lot of dangerous animals in our town,” he said. “We went decades without a problem until the caracal cats escaped last year.”