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City Council hears urban grazing plan

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DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

Detroit City Councilman James Tate presented a plan Thursday that would bring livestock to the city to fight blight by eating the overgrown grass across several lots, if approved by City Council. Residents in Detroit shared their approval of the plan at the meeting.

Riet Shumack lives in Brightmoor, the neighborhood that initially approached Tate with the idea, and believes this "prescribed grazing" will eliminate the city's unsightly landscaping and provide other opportunities for residents. "There's value-added products, like meats and wool, and all kinds of other things ... soap," Shumack tells Fox 2's Alexis Wiley.

Thursday Laura DeYoung of Urban Shepherds spoke to City Council on behalf of Tate's proposal. "Basically all you have to do is give [the animals] water and mineral and move them around from portion to portion of your grazing area, and, that's easy," DeYoung says.

Councilman Ken Cockrel said after the presentation: "I think the issue is worth exploring. So I look at it with an open mind."

But Councilwoman Joanne Watson wasn't as receptive to the idea, questioning security for the animals and pointing out the fact no cities have officially adopted the plan.

Councilman Tate still plans to move forward and is working on an ordinance that will change zoning requirements so residents could choose urban grazing if they choose to. "What's right for Brightmoor may not be right for other neighborhoods," Tate adds.

The ordinance is still being drafter and it could take months before it reaches the City Council's table.

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