Thursday, December 7, 2023

Sumpter strays to be cared for by Brownstown Animal Shelter

Stray dogs found in Sumpter Township will be cared for by the Brownstown Township Animal Shelter along with the Friends of Michigan Animals Rescue.

Neither facility, according to Sumpter Township Director of Public Safety/Police Chief Eric Luke, has the capacity to care for the 50 or so stray dogs annually picked up by officers in the township.

Luke told the members of the township board of trustees during the Nov. 14 meeting that the number of stray dogs has put some stress on the capacity at the FMAR shelter. Pets adopted during COVID when people expected to work from home for the duration of their careers are being returned to shelters as people return to offices and are unable to care for the animals.

“We'll work through it,” Luke told the trustees. 

He explained that when the township had a shelter facility, he found having a “sworn police officer at the facility at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. feeding dogs and shoveling dog crap was not a good use of a police officer's time.”

While having a local shelter seems like a good idea, Luke explained, it is difficult to staff and often volunteer staff members can be tentative and somewhat unreliable, once again leaving the township to hire a full or part-time employee to care for the animals. 

“When the volunteers dry up,  you're left with the plan you didn't plan on,” he said.

 “Don't get me wrong, volunteers are great, but people don't want to be stuck with a certain time they have to be somewhere.”  

Luke said he reached out to Brownstown shelter officials and is also going to meet with officials from the Romulus Animal Shelter in an effort to ensure the stray animals get proper care when they are picked up in the township. 

Another problem is the breeds of dogs which somehow end up in Sumpter Township,  Luke said.

Many of the strays are the bully breeds such as pit bulls or shepherds that are difficult to adopt out. Luke said the township picks up an average in the 50s of dogs annually and this year should total nearly 60.

In the regular meeting following the study session, trustees unanimously approved a two-year contract with the Brownstown shelter to care for the stray animals.

 Township Clerk Esther Hurst was absent from the meeting.