No vet at Detroit Animal Control preventing dog from going home - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

No vet at Detroit Animal Control preventing dog from going home

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    Tuesday, October 23 2012 6:48 PM EDT2012-10-23 22:48:17 GMT
    Ruth Fontanez found her dog at Detroit Animal Control, but with no vet on staff to give a vaccine, the pooch couldn't go home.  Dog and owner were reunited Tuesday after the city solved the problem.
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By Amy Lange
FOX 2 News Reporter


DETROIT -- "It's animal cruelty to me.  That' how I look at it," said Ruth Fontanez.

She is missing her dog.  Gina got out of her yard last Wednesday.  Fontanez finally found her at Detroit Animal Control on Friday, but hasn't been able to take her home.

"The first day that I saw her there, she started crying because she wanted to come with me and there was nothing I could do," Fontanez explained.

Gina is not up-to-date on her rabies vaccine and legally can't be released until she gets her shot.  Here's the problem.  There is no veterinarian at Detroit Animal Control and there hasn't been one there since the city let the contract expire on October 1.  That means no animals are being vaccinated, none are being euthanized and animal control is almost at capacity.

"Dogs crying.  You see dogs injured," said Jessica Ramirez.  "The mayor, the city council should make sure a vet is there 24/7."

"I'm not here to speak about that today," Mayor Dave Bing said at a press conference Monday.  "I'll call the appropriate person who has that responsibility and get an update, but that's not something that I'm aware of."

The city is well aware of the problem.  Detroit Animal Control used to be part of the Health Department, but the cash strapped city shut down the Health Department, so Animal Control will now be part of the police department.  However, the mayor has to send a budget to city council and that still hasn't happened despite repeated requests from Animal Control to get their vet back.

"Not only are these dogs... really suffering because they're coming from the streets, now they've got to suffer, the ones that are injured or in pain or sick," Ramirez said.

"I want my baby home.  That's all I can say," Fontanez said.

This should also serve as an important reminder to have your pets vaccinated and have a record of it.  The rabies vaccine is required by law.

As for having a veterinarian under contract at Detroit Animal Control, that's also the law, and the city is not in compliance.

The City of Detroit released the following statement Tuesday.

"The City of Detroit's Animal Control shelter has been without a veterinarian on staff since Oct 1, but that situation will be resolved once its budget as a new unit of the Detroit Police Department (DPD) is approved by Detroit City Council, as expected.

Animal Control  is in the process of transition from the authority of the Detroit Health and Wellness Department to the authority of the DPD, due to the creation of the City's new Institute for Population Health.

This month, Animal Control has accepted only dogs assigned to quarantine due to biting incidents. Animals housed at the shelter have been fed, watered and well-kept, and the care of all animals at the unit has been regularly reported to the State of Michigan by the shelter staff.  Any dog at the shelter that has had a rabies shot within the past one to three years can be taken home by its owner.  Owners of animals housed at the shelter are not being charged for their boarding during this time of transition for Animal Control."

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