Detroit Dog Rescue has new executive director

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News
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Detroit Dog Rescue has a new executive director as it moves ahead with efforts to tackle animal control reform in the city.

Kristina Rinaldi, who formerly held various roles with the high-profile nonprofit, started her position last week and was elected after a months-long process. She replaces co-founder Daniel “Hush” Carlisle, who plans to focus more on his music career.

“I am very excited to serve the community better with vaccination clinics and spay and neuter programs,’ she said Monday. “I’m excited to work with the all animal rescues. ... We really all have to come together and work on positive solutions.”

The leadership changes comes as DDR, which launched in 2011 and is seeking a license from the state, has faced scrutiny from Detroit Animal Control, which governs stray animals in the city.

Earlier this month, DAC head Harry Ward had sought paperwork on its rescues and told staffers that any animals not surrendered by an owner faced removal since they should have been delivered to his unit. Under state law, he has told The Detroit News, a stray dog must be impounded for four business days so an owner has time to claim it. If that doesn’t happen, the animal is evaluated for adoption through the Michigan Humane Society.

DDR and other animal rescue groups have called for reform, saying even police officers turn canines over to them out of fears about their fate at city animal control, which Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development reports show has a high kill rate.

Rinaldi said she met last week with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Assistant Police Chief James White.

While plans are still in the works, she said, “the mayor wants to put together a committee with MHS and other rescue groups to see what we all can do to bring solutions to the table.”

Meanwhile, Rinaldi has met with MHS officials and discussed exploring ways to care for dogs housed there over long periods.

Her goal leading DDR, she said, is to “make animal services better for the residents” while also “rescue dogs that are maybe just a little bit of work.”

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