Does a home-based animal rescue operation have a place in Shelby Township?
Township officials say no, which is news for Kelley LaBonty, who has operated the nonprofit Detroit Animal Welfare Group out of her home in the Forest Glen subdivision for the past 10 years.
A registered nurse, LaBonty serves as president of DAWG and fosters multiple animals at any given time in addition to her own four dogs.
In January, Shelby Township notified LaBonty that her operation was in violation of township zoning ordinances, as an animal rescue is "not a permitted use" in a residential area, according to The Macomb Daily.
A second letter was sent the first week of February, which ordered LaBonty to remove the fosters she had and cease operating the rescue from her home by Feb. 17.
While the township does not have an ordinance specific to neighborhood-based animal-rescue operations, township attorney Robert Huth told The Macomb Daily that DAWG "violates the zoning ordinance because it’s not a permitted use in a residential zone."
For some of LaBonty's neighbors, the issue is liability.
Armand Verlado, president of the Forest Glen Homeowners Association, told the board of trustees last week that he and other residents are concerned about accountability should a dog get loose and injure someone.
Labonty had not complied with the township's order to cease operations as of Feb. 17, leading Shelby Township officials to consider court as the next step.
Should DAWG be permitted to operate in Forest Glen subdivision? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.