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Royal Oak City Commission proposes ordinance to ban wild animals as pets

Posted at 11:34 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 23:34:56-04

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — Royal Oak city commissioners are considering whether to outlaw wild animals as pets.

On Monday, commissioners discussed the proposed ordinance at their regularly scheduled board meeting.

The proposal was created after African caracal cats escaped from their owner's Royal Oak property on several occasions.

No action was taken tonight.

City commissioners and the city manager expressed concerns that the current language in the proposed ordinance may be unclear, overreach and may impact wild animals that aren't dangerous. Some residents shared similar concerns during public comment.

Sarah Ellison, who owns a boa constrictor asked rhetorically, "What makes a species inherently dangerous?"

"I thoroughly understand why this change needs to be made. I 100% agree with it. What I don't understand is why the proposed ordinance that goes back to outdated language in other cities," she said.

Ellison said her exotic snake hasn't caused any issues and she's concerned about unintended consequences.

"We're drafting this huge ordinance for a very small amount of people. I'm not sure this service is doing anything for the community," Royal Oak City Commissioner Kyle DuBuc said. "I feel like we're creating complex enforcements for both ourselves and our residents."

This was the first reading of the ordinance. Commissioners said they plan to further discuss the proposal in the coming weeks.