Four Paws Up! Detroit Opens Its First No-Kill Dog Shelter

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
Finally, a little good news for the down-on-its-luck city. And for Detroit, its first no-kill shelter couldn’t come at a better time for abandoned pooches.

Detroit is home to the original “top three” auto makers, to world-class recording company Motown, and now to an independent dog rescue and shelter founded by local rapper Daniel “Hush” Carlisle and Emmy-nominated TV producer Monica Martino.

The shelter part of the equation is not so unusual; it’s the rescue portion that has them at odds with the area’s Animal Control Services (ACS). You see, Detroit Dog Rescue is a licensed non-profit with a twist – they not only take in animals in need, but they seek them out.

Related: Olé To Madrid – Now An Official No-Kill City!

“We get the dogs that have been shot. We get the dogs that have been victims of baiting from dog fighting,” says Kristina Rinaldi, the organization’s Executive Director. And they do it well, because to date the four year old organization has found homes for about 650 lucky dogs and now have the space to shelter up to 30 at a time.

So why the tension with the area’s ACS? It’s down to their different approach to dealing with these abandoned animals after they have been “rescued”. Detroit Dog Rescue is a no-kill shelter and they are absolutely committed to rehabilitating animals that are physically and mentally damaged so they can be placed in their forever homes.

Related: What Is A No-Kill Shelter?

Stats for ACS show a whopping kill rate range of 69-71 percent so far this year. In 2014 the organization took in 3,320 dogs and 1,803 cats. Of those, 2,383 dogs and 1,244 cats were euthanized. The balance were returned to owners or transferred to a shelter.

In fact this shocking record of terminating the lives of their captures resulted in an online protest titled “Petitioning Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan: Shut Down Detroit Animal Control” that garnered over 13,700 signatures within a few days.

And it was this same alarming approach that compelled Detroit Dog Rescue to head out in pursuit of these animals before ACS could find them. By law, rescues can harbor animals but are not permitted to capture them and that’s why this issue got so nasty. The Animal Planet-featured Detroit Dog Rescue has a focus on rehabilitation of the animals they realize are not immediately adoptable. ACS, not so much.

The now public controversy caused Detroit’s mayor to assemble a reform committee to review city animal policies. Hey, he’s listening! And of course the spin-doctors for the City, the ACS, and overseer Police Department are out in full force to say “it’s not really all that bad” and “we’re just following the state laws” while also pledging to work with Detroit Dog Rescue to help place stray animals. I don’t know folks; the numbers tell a different story and suggest ACS doesn’t play well with anyone.

Reps for Detroit Dog Rescue are however cheered by the attention their efforts have gained for the city’s four-legged outcasts and feel the partnership between the mayor’s office, police and animal control will open new doors for animal welfare in the city.

“Detroit needs a lot of help when it comes to the stray dogs and dog fighting and we’re definitely here to help. It’s really a new day in rescue,” says Rinaldi.

[Source: The Detroit News]

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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