In a letter dated June 8, 2013, Oakland County Animal Control Manager, Bob Gatt put out the word that as of that date that the Center had, '159 dogs and 231 cats under our care. The Center has reached a critical stage in its operations because of the large number of animals presently housed. The benefits of placing dogs and cats with responsible pet owners are well known. Frankly, the Center needs your help. Will you help the Center place them?'
Addy Shattuck, owner of the Bloomfield Hills Pet Supplies Plus store and Linda Wasche, owner of a veterinary marketing firm, responded to Gatt's call for help when they planned the Pet Supplies Plus 2013 marathon cat adoption event at Shattuck’s store. The two met with Gatt in July to confirm Animal Control’s commitment to provide 200 cats for the event to be held Aug. 9 through Aug. 11.
Flyers that were approved by all parties were sent out. Press releases were distributed. Articles appeared in The Oakland Press, Metro Parent Magazine, the Bloomfield/Bloomfield Hills Patch, and The Detroit News and many other media outlets. Shattuck also made an appearance on Fox's Detroit television station.
Yet, according to Wasche, who spoke before the Oakland County Board of Commissioners at their August 13, 2013 public meeting, 'Instead of 200 [cats], we got 86. We called a few days prior to the event to confirm everything and thought we were good to go...'
On Friday, Aug. 9, 70 cats were brought by Animal Control to the Bloomfield Hills Pet Supplies Plus store in time for the beginning of the event. An additional 16 were brought later that night, for a total of 86 available for the entire 48-hour event. Wasche told the Board of Commissioners that she was told the following as to why the remainder of the cats had not been delivered to the store:
- There was a problem because Animal Control had to rent U-Haul trucks to transport the cats and Animal Control had to pay for them. The Pet Supplies Plus Bloomfield Hills store offered to pay for the trucks, but the offer wasn't accepted.
- When the first cats arrived, Animal Control was asked where the remainder of the cats were, and Stattuck and Wasche were told the driver broke his foot and there was nobody else available. The two offered to pick the cats up, but that offer, too, wasn't accepted.
- Gatt called to apologize stating he'd make sure the rest of the cats would go to Pet Supplies Plus.
- On Sat., Aug. 10, the second day of the adoption event, Pet Supplies Plus was told all of the remaining cats at the shelter were sick and no more would be coming.
Per Gatt, in an email to Wasche that she furnished to the Board, 'as far as sickness, I, too, wish we would have known several days in advance that many of our cats were going to be sick. We would have told you then so that other arrangements could have been made.'
It was too late to contact other shelters. Roscommon County emailed Wasche after the event was over, stating they'd have brought at least 100 cats in their vans. Roscommon County's population is a quarter of the size of Oakland County, and they said they had the cats and the resources to transport them.
Wasche stated, 'Michigan has a number of shelters considered to be role models. Oakland County Animal Control is not on [the] list. Animal Control tells everyone they do it better than anyone else and refuses to learn from other shelters and humane societies that have offered help.'
She summed up her comments before the Board by stating she sought to 'build a bridge' to work with Animal Control, taking the 'initiative... to build such a bridge. But, based upon what I saw and heard, it's one that I doubt I will cross again.'
In the end, a total of 65 cats were adopted from the 86 provided by Animal Control along with nine that came from the Bloomfield Township Animal Shelter and those who were already at Pet Supplies Plus.