Royal Oak ‘census’ has dog owners howling

Oak — are putting dog owners on a shorter leash, telling them to license their pets or they'll find a at their door.

What may be the first-ever canine count is an attempt to control an unlicensed dog problem in the city, they said. The initiative follows a recent ordinance that mandates a $ 1 million insurance policy for owners of deemed dangerous.

But some dog lovers said it's just more municipal meddling.

“They definitely have ulterior motives,” dog owner Phil Brooks, 22, said of the new initiative. “I think they're just doing it to see what's where and to be Big Brother. But it violates our right to privacy.

“I don't see them trying to see what kind of cats we have running around the neighborhood.”

City manager Don Johnson said that's not the deal at all.

“It's about one, making sure they're vaccinated; two, it's a means to return lost dogs, and three, it's putting the city in compliance with state law,” he said.

Starting July 1, census workers hired by the city and paid for with dog licensing fees will go door-to-door to make sure dogs are licensed and up to date on rabies shots.

Violators will be fined $ 20 and will be given 14 days to buy a license. Failure to comply within two weeks could result in a fine up to $ 500.

Johnson said Oak has an unlicensed dog problem and the city needed to crack down. There were about 3,500 licensed dogs before the census.

Oakland County Animal Control estimates less than 10 percent of Royal Oak's dogs are registered. The initiative was drafted

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