Detroit announces major changes to animal care, control

Posted at 10:02 AM, Dec 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-09 10:14:36-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The City of Detroit announced major changes to be made to improve community safety and animal care in the city.

Changes include hiring more staff, facility improvements, expanded hours and a new hotline: 313-922-DOGS.

More animal care technicians and a team of inspectors will be hired, each of which will be responsible for his or her own district of the city.

A new organizational structure will be put into place to separate the animal control side of the operation from the care side.

“For years, DACC has been challenged with managing the dual responsibilities of animal control - making sure residents are safe - and the care that must be provided to the dogs we take in to our facility,” said Chief Public Health Officer Denise Fair. “In order to give both of these important functions the attention they require and deserve, we determined that it would be more effective if care and control were managed separately, coordinating when appropriate. This is a model we have seen in other major cities.”

Here is a breakdown of the improvements coming to Detroit Animal Care and Control:

Customer Service

  • Expanding Animal Control operations to 12 hours a day, seven days per week beginning in December. Hours were expanded last week to 7 AM - 7 PM on Monday-Friday. Weekend hours will be expanded to 7 AM - 7 PM by the end of the year.
  • The city launched (313) 922-DOGS, a new hotline supported by an expanded call center that also will be staffed 7 AM – 7 PM, seven days per week to respond to complaints and answer customer questions.
  • Expanding awareness about dog owner responsibility, as well as licensing and adoption opportunities through paid marketing campaign. The city also recently secured a $123,000 PetSmart grant to pay for more spaying/neutering services.

Additional Staff

  • Seven additional animal care technicians for shelter operations to increase the total number to 20. The health department is in the process of obtaining a budget adjustment to accommodate these new hires
  • Nine additional control officers (previously announced) that have completed training and were sworn in on November 20, 2019 to bring the total to 19. In 2018, the city took 4,711 stray or loose animals off the street, a 68% increase from just two years prior.
  • Two additional part time veterinarians, one of which will transition to full time
  • The city is hiring seven Animal Control Investigators – one for each city council district to respond to citizen complaints and provide educational awareness. All are expected to be hired by January.

Major facility investment

  • Investing $3 million dollars in capital to expand the shelter for capacity and improved operations for both care and control operations. The current building now will be used exclusively for animal care operations, allowing the facility to increase its amount of space for the housing of dogs. When completed by fall 2020, the shelter will be able to comfortably house 250 dogs, up from the current number of 150.
  • Behind the current building, a new 9,000 square-foot structure will be built to provide space for administrative staff, the call center, surgery rooms and hospitality space for customers as they wait.