A man was arrested Friday after a tip in an alleged Detroit animal cruelty case led authorities to six dogs inside a foreclosed home on the city’s west side.

The nonprofit Detroit Pit Crew Dog Rescue had been working to find the owner accused of dragging his pet with a bike near Beard and Chatfield on Wednesday then beating the animal when it lost consciousness. 

“That’s an amazing turnaround,” said Theresa Sumpter, the group's founder and director. “That doesn’t happen very often.”


Witnesses alerted the group and kept the German Shepherd mix away from the man when he left it tied to a tree, Sumpter said.

As the pooch recuperated at Center Line Veterinary Hospital, Detroit Pit Crew offered a reward for tips. Then, on Friday, Sumpter learned from Dearborn police that a caller had identified the owner as living in the Motor City. She alerted Detroit officers then rushed to the address: a three-story dilapidated home on Tarnow with boarded-up windows and a mattress out front.

Investigators learned the home had been foreclosed on in 2011, Sumpter said. When they found the former owner, a witness identified him as the man seen dragging the dog two days earlier.

The man told authorities he had multiple dogs inside the dwelling.  Video Sumpter’s group posted on its Facebook page Friday showed Detroit animal control officers removing plywood to take several dogs out. One was seen barking from a top-floor window.

“It was literally 100 degrees inside, and they had thick coats,” Sumpter said. “They could have died from being overheated.”

After being questioned, the owner was arrested. City police were not immediately available for comment on his status Friday night.

All six dogs were in animal control custody, though their owner has surrendered them to Sumpter’s group, she said.

Meanwhile, the dog rescued Wednesday, which is believed to be 7 or 8 years old, has since been christened Justice and continuing to undergo medical treatment, Sumpter said.

The fact he and the other animals are now safe, and their owner facing charges, is a godsend, she added. “Hopefully that will make an example to other people, that if you do this to a dog, it’s not going to be tolerated.”

News of the rescues encouraged Detroit Pit Crew's supporters.

"Thank you all so much!! You are angels!! Detroit Pit Rescue you guys rock!!" one woman wrote on the group's Facebook page. "And thanks to the Detroit Police too!! Awesome job."

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