Oakland police dog breaks ground for animal shelter

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Pontiac — A dog “kick started” the ceremonial groundbreaking for a $15.5 million animal shelter and pet adoption center in the Oakland County government complex.

Mordus, a Dutch shepherd and member of the Oakland County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit, feverishly kicked out several pawfuls of dirt before any of the nearby shiny dignitary shovels were ever sunk into the ground.

Mordus did his stuff, much to the delight of camera-clicking media, county officials and employees, and animal-lovers gathered for the event.

Trained to patrol, find lost children and chase down bad guys, Mordus wasn’t completely out of his element. His two-legged partner, deputy Chris Topacio, confided an added incentive for a drug-sniffing dog to dig deep: the scent of a pipe containing marijuana buried inches below the surface.

“This is exciting,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “This is the first new county building in 24 years. We have converted a lot of them but this will be a new state-of-the-art and serve the county and animals well.”

Architectural renderings show a 35,400-square-foot facility planned for the long-vacant site with sections identified “Lost & Found,” “Adoption” and “Community Room.” It will house about 300 dogs and cats at any given time.

The shelter, expected to take about a year to build, will replace a 40-year-old building used at 1700 Brown in Auburn Hills.

About 4,000 dogs and cats are housed in the county shelter every year, officials said, with a 90 percent adoption rate.

The new location, in the middle of a county campus which houses the circuit court, clerk’s office, health department, sheriff’s office and jail and other buildings, should make it easier for residents to adopt dogs and cats.

“I adopted my last two dogs,” County Commissioner Michael Spisz said. “It’s good to see a shelter that will be an animal’s temporary home before it is adopted.”

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

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