For years, the city of Detroit’s animal control department has come under fire for the care — or alleged lack there of — given to the animals that stay there.
But thanks to the determination of several local rescue groups, some changes are being made, Fox 2 Detroit reports.
On Tuesday, the Michigan city launched a new fostering program for dogs, allowing various groups to step in, give what they say is better care and provide new homes for the canines.
“We’ve been hoping to save dogs here at Detroit Animal Control for many years. And today is the first day that it’s happened,” Kelly LaBonty, founder of the Detroit Animal Welfare Group, or DAWG, told Fox 2.
Her group picked up three of the shelter’s dogs.
“We can’t tell you how excited we are for these animals,” she added.
The new partnership comes amid allegations of abuse, neglect and deadly conditions inside Detroit Animal Control. Last week, a fired DAC employee filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the agency that included graphic images she took while on the job.
“Do we do ground feeding, throwing the food on the ground?” DAC Director Henry Ward asked Fox 2, referring to allegations the dogs eat food off the floor near feces. “That’s a question for the state.”
The DAC also is being accused of misuse of power and taxpayer dollars. Ward reportedly keeps his own dog, Peaches, a 6-year-old Mastiff, in a kennel while he is at work — one that witnesses say is cleaner and larger than the rest of the puppy population’s. The news station reports that via taxpayer dollars and donations, Peaches’ vaccines, food and room and board are paid.
Along with DAWG, Fox 2 reports that Taylor Animal Control picked up three pups and 10 went with Detroit Dog Rescue, the area’s only no-kill dog shelter.
“Now this is only the first step,” Kristina Rinaldi, DDR executive director, told the news station, adding that they’ve tried to create a partnership with the DAC for about five years. “We’re not done, I know people are going to say there are still dogs in there,” she said. “Absolutely. As I was taking 10 out, 25 more are going in.”
Despite their apparent enthusiasm in helping the sheltered dogs, the rescue groups are asking for any assistance to help with medical care for the dogs. A GoFundMe page has been set up and interested parties also can visit the Michigan Humane Society Facebook page for more information and updates on the rescued dogs.