City won't take dogs from rescue group, at least for now
A local animal rescue group can keep all of its dogs as Detroit Animal Control works with officials to ensure they are following state guidelines, police said Monday.
The news came the same day DAC head Harry Ward set a deadline for paperwork from Detroit Dog Rescue showing how they received the rescued dogs. According to a group leader, Ward told the nonprofit that any animals not surrendered by an owner faced removal because they should have been delivered to animal control.
As of Monday, all the rescued canines can stay put, said Sgt. Cassandra Lewis, spokeswoman for the Detroit Police Department, which oversees Detroit Animal Control.
"We are going to be continuing to have conversations with some of our rescue groups as well as Animal Control and the Humane Society and try to come up with a partnership that works for all sides involved," she said.
At issue is that sometimes local rescue groups receive dogs that aren't owner-surrendered, even from police officers concerned about their potential fate at animal control, DDR leaders have said. Ward previously told the Detroit News that under state law, a stray dog must be impounded for four business days so an owner has time to claim it. If that does not happen, the dog is evaluated for adoption through the Michigan Humane Society.
Lewis said she expects to set up a meeting with rescue groups in the next couple of weeks.
"We're excited that the city is making itself available to the rescue community," said David Rudolph, spokesman for Detroit Dog Rescue. "We want to make sure the dogs remain with (DDR.)"
Detroit Dog Rescue, started in 2011, operates on the city's east side. The group has a pending license with the state and can receive stray dogs surrendered by their owners, Rudolph said.
He said the rescue group has capacity for 29 dogs.
While the city seeks talks with local dog rescue groups, those same groups are requesting changes to city animal control practices. They criticize animal control's euthanasia rate, which they say has reached 95 percent. According to the Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development in 2013, Detroit Animal Control reported that it euthanized nearly 75 percent of the 3,869 dogs it received in 2013.
By Monday afternoon, more than 9,700 people had signed a petition titled "Petitioning Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan: Shut Down Detroit Animal Control."
Detroit attorney Tamara French, who headed up the petition on change.org, said she is forming a committee of four residents who want to work with the DAC. The committee will be called Citizens for Change for Detroit Dog and Cats, she said.
"We want to get these euthanization rates as low as possible," French said.."