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Published July 11, 2014

Trove of exotic animals removed from local home

WARREN — Coatis and foxes and lemurs, oh, my!

Warren police said a collection of exotic and prohibited animals were removed from a property on Frazho, west of Mound, July 9.

“The original call was a white-nosed coatimundi,” Warren Police Sgt. Larry Garner said. “One of the neighbors thought it was a raccoon.”

Garner said the call came in at about 5:30 a.m. after a neighbor had an encounter with the strange animal. Warren Police Department Animal Control officer Lisa Taylor later went to the block and located the coati in the garage of a home two doors down from where the trove of animals was later located.

Two white-nosed coatis, three fennec foxes, two ring-tailed lemurs, rabbits, chickens, and a screech owl and other birds were removed from the house. Garner said an investigation remained ongoing at press time.

The city of Warren has separate ordinances governing exotic creatures and other animals not normally kept as pets.

“A message that certainly should be delivered is before any citizen wants to possess anything other than a dog, a cat or a goldfish, that they should probably check our city ordinance so they do not make a mistake of getting an exotic animal or another type of animal that would not be supported by our city ordinance,” Warren Police Deputy Commissioner Louis Galasso said. “If it’s not what we all know as a common domestic animal — which would certainly be a household bird, like a parakeet, something that swims in an aquarium, like a fish, or a cat or a dog — it’s probably not allowed in the city.”

Garner said the owner of the home where the animals were found was cooperative with the investigation and that violation of the city’s animal ordinances is a misdemeanor. No charges have been filed yet.

Galasso said it did not appear that the owner intended to sell the animals; rather, he reportedly had them as pets.

“They certainly were pets and something he just enjoyed,” Galasso said. “He’s cooperated fully with us. He seemed to have a true concern for their well-being.”

He said the animals taken from the home were turned over to Detroit Zoological Society staff members.

According to a media release from the Detroit Zoo, 30 animals were receiving care after their removal from a residential property. The release stated that eight Detroit Zoo animal and veterinary staff members assessed the animals at the scene and assisted with their removal.

Some of the animals remained under quarantine at the zoo at press time. Other animals were expected to be transferred to the Michigan Humane Society, while placement of the exotic animals remained undetermined.

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