Right now, only one investigator with Detroit's animal control has the authority to issue citations, according to the city of Detroit and animal advocates pushing to see a change.
Wednesday afternoon, a small group of people protested outside city hall in hopes of getting the attention of the mayor and members of the council.
"It's heartbreaking," said Connie Fisher who organized the protest. "And knowing that there is something that can be done and they aren't doing it,"
Fisher and others are particularly upset that animal control officers are not deputized to be able to issue citations to dog owners violating the city's anti-tether ordinance, which makes it illegal for an animal to be tethered outside for longer than three hours a day.
There are a number of animal control officers working in the city, but they do not have the authority to issue tickets when residents violate the anti-tether ordinance or any law because they are not deputized.
Kristina Rinaldi, executive director of Detroit Dog Rescue, tells 7 Action News that they work to educate residents, but sometimes they "need that strong arm to ticket a resident who isn't absorbing the information that we're giving them."
A spokesperson for the city of Detroit said the number of citations, in general, has increased dramatically over this time last year, but she would not say how many tickets related to the anti-tether ordinance have been issued since it took effect in April 2017. Sources say the number is only five or six.
The city of Detroit released the following statement:
Detroit Animal and Control (DACC) is committed to protecting the health, safety and welfare of Detroit residents; in addition to respecting the property rights of residents who own animals.
Detroit Animal Care and Control has added 11 additional staff and the City has increased funding to expand the number of Animal Control Officers and Investigators and we expect enforcement to increase as new staff are added to the ranks.
Detroit Animal Care and Control immediately places all complaints about tethering and endangered animals into our dispatch cue. We respond to each residence and provide important education and resources, and also confiscate animals, under city ordinance, when we believe the animal is in immediate danger. Our goal is to help Detroit residents get the resources and support they need to humanely care for pets, in addition to enforcing the ordinance.
Under the City Ordinance, an animal may be tethered outdoors, but for no longer than three hours per day, must be actively monitored and have food and water available.
An Animal Control Officer may confiscate an improperly tethered animal from an occupied property if 1.) the owner has given consent, or 2.) a warrant has been obtained or, 3.) the safety and/or health of the animal are in immediate danger.
To report an animal in danger, please call Detroit Animal Care and Control at 313-224-6356.