On Friday, November 4, DDR received a number of emails and Facebook posts pleading with us to help a dog that had wandered into an Ace Hardware store on E. McNichols in Detroit looking for warmth.
There was a heartbreaking photo of a dog cowering in the lobby, skinny and emaciated. It must have hurt him to try and sit because he was just skin and bones. There were signs of a wound on his neck, and dried blood near his throat.
Hush and Shance from the DDR crew headed to the hardware store within moments of being contacted, but the store had already contacted Animal Control and they got there before we did. We do not know the names of the officers who picked him up.
By then, word had spread throughout social media, and DDR was inundated with calls and posts asking for updates. We were able to find out that DAC had indeed taken the dog, but there was no further information over the weekend. Due to DAC’s egregious policy of euthanising 100% of dogs that they deem to be pitbulls or pit mixes, we knew that Ace would almost certainly be put down. Luckily, the media had gotten a hold of the story as thousands rallied together. A group of people started a “Save Ace” Facebook page, and a licensed rescue (Stray K-9 Rescue) confirmed that they would take Ace if DAC would release him. Detroit Dog Rescue and Stray K-9 attended a City Council meeting on Tuesday, November 8 to fight for Ace’s release, as well as a bigger picture policy change in Animal Control’s tactics. The City Council President, Charles Pugh, offered support and said that the Head of Animal Control (Harry Ward) needed to account for his actions. Unfortunately, later on that same day, Loretta Davis (the Head of the Department of Health and Harry Ward’s boss) said that Ace would NOT be released to any rescue and that if his owner did not come forward, he would in fact be killed on Friday, November 11 after the mandatory four day holding period. Late Tuesday night, DDR was able to confirm that Ace’s owner had been found. The dog had been stolen from her family (thousands of dogs are stolen every year in the city and used for bait dogs) and when she saw him on the news and recognized him she almost dropped the phone. She got in touch with DDR and she and Hush went to the DAC armed with the proper identification and proof of ownership. DAC showed the owner a dog that was NOT Ace. We were able to secretly film the dog that DAC insisted was Ace. She confirmed that it was not her dog and DAC told her that she was wrong. It has been Detroit Dog Rescue’s belief that Ace was put down almost immediately upon being picked up on November 4, and that they showed his owner a different dog in the hopes of covering their tracks.
On Wednesday, November 9, Detroit Dog Rescue and Ace’s owner worked with legal counsel to file an injunction. Judge Gershwin Drain passed a temporary restraining order barring Department of Animal Control from killing ANY dogs resembling Ace until a hearing could take place on November 16. The “Save Ace” Facebook group also brought on the Lexus Project (a legal group) and they filed an injunction on Thursday, November 10. There were therefore two injunctions in place both confirming a temporary stay of execution for the dog known as Ace.
Today, Thursday, November 10 at 5:00pm, the Department of Animal Control euthanized Ace, deliberately ignoring the restraining order and the injunction and killing him one day before his originally scheduled day of execution (which would have been Friday, November 11). In doing so, they ignored 20,000 people who had rallied behind this little dog who committed no crime except to wander into someplace friendly, hoping for love, food and maybe even a friendly pat.
We at Detroit Dog Rescue believe that DAC put the dog they tried to pass off as Ace down early rather than have to prove whether he was or was not Ace. It has become clear that Animal Control believes they are above the law and that they are not accountable to anyone.
We are lucky to have the media’s attention and the public’s support and rest assured we will not stop until someone is held accountable for Ace’s death. The system in Detroit it broken. Animal Control can no longer control the dog problem in Detroit and they proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt with their handling of Ace. Their preferred method is one of eradication and they believe themselves to be above the law. They bumbled, lied, tried to backtrack, and then disregarded a direct order from the judge. They cannot ignore the courts, Department of Agriculture and, above all, the citizens of Detroit who are the very people who fund and demand their existence. We are calling upon the citizens of Detroit to speak up — to policemen, to your city officials, to your Mayor, to your City Council and to anyone who will listen. Empower yourselves. Not just for Ace, but because if Animal Control believes they are above the law it means they can pick up YOUR dog if it happens to get out and you will have NO rights to get him back. It means they can put down any dog that they decide has pitbull in him. And it means they can operate outside of any official authority and spend your tax dollars killing dogs we want to save. Get out your cellphones and when you see those DAC “workers” sleeping behind the supermarket instead of working, or you see them picking up puppies and throwing them in a van, film them and send the video to us. We will get it in the right hands. If the Mayor doesn’t want to be bothered keeping them accountable, we will do it ourselves.
In the past *ten* years, a quarter of a million people have moved out of Detroit, leaving tens of thousands of homes and businesses behind. The average income in Detroit is $18,700, compared with $48,700 in the rest of the state. There are entire city blocks populated only by stray dogs. How can a city that should be embracing sweeping large-scale reforms refuse to allow small groups of committed, thoughtful, and determined people be the change they want to see? How can it hurt to change the policy on how the city cares for its animals? With so much broken that needs to be fixed, LET US DO THIS ONE THING. Let us help the abandoned animals. Let us care. Or at least get out of our way.
DETROIT ADMINISTRATION CONTACTS:
We are asking those of you around the country and around the world to let Detroit know that you are watching. Please join us – we must make our voices heard and we must keep fighting now more than ever. Following are the list of contacts – please help us keep the pressure on. We need the city to know that although Ace was put down before his time, that we are not giving up and that they WILL be held accountable.
Sending faxes is a great idea because they are a lot harder to ignore than emails!
Use your voices and DEMAND change. The Department of Animal Control, the Department of Environmental Safety and the Department of Health are ALL city entities who answer to the citizens of Detroit and you fund them with your dollars. You deserve answers.
• Harry Ward, Head of Animal Control 313-224-7133, email@example.com
• Loretta Davis, Department of Health (Animal Control answers to her) firstname.lastname@example.org 1-313-876-4201
• Bruce M King, Director of Environmental Health Services (he decreed that Ace be put down and it was his decision to ignore the injunctions). 313 876 4821 KingBM@detroitmi.gov
• Mayor Dave Bing’s Office at (313) 224-3400, fax (313) 224-4128
• Mayor Dave Bing’s Office at (313) 224-3400, fax (313) 224-4128
• Council President Charles Pugh (313) 224-4510, CouncilPresidentPugh@detroitmi.gov
• Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown (313) 224-2450, email@example.com
• Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins (313) 224-4248, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Councilman Kenneth Cockerl, Jr (313) 224-4505, CockrelK@kcockrel.ci.detroit.mi.us
• Councilwoman Brenda Jones (313) 224-1245, email@example.com Councilman Andre Spivey (313) 224-4841, ** CouncilmanSpivey@detroitmi.gov Councilman James Tate (313) 224-1027, firstname.lastname@example.org Councilman Kwame Kenyatta (313) 224-1198, K-Kenyatta_MB@detroitmi.gov Councilwoman JoAnn Watson (313) 224-4535,WatsonJ@cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us
Fax Numbers for each Council member available at the links at the bottom of this page: http://www.detroitmi.gov/
MEDIA CONTACTS FOR DETROIT:
Please share Ace’s story and ask the local media to help investigate the practices at Detroit Animal Control. Please ask the national media to help get attention for the plight of stray dogs in Detroit in general. There are 100,000 stray dogs and only 23 Animal Control workers! Detroit Dog Rescue is trying to change the system, one dog at a time. We should be allowed to get answers from our elected officials and city workers. Please ask the media to help us investigate the practices and keep featuring us as we strive to make a difference.
• WXYZ (Channel 4) 248-827-9407
• WDLV (Channel 7) 313-222-0500
• Fox 2 Detroit (Hall of Shame) Call (248) 552-5150
• Fox 2 Detroit (submit a news tip) http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/subindex/about_us/contact_us
• CBS Detroit http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/11/09/charlie-langton-ace-a-little-dog-digging-up-a-big-problem/
• Detroit Free press: localnews@Freep.com
• Detroit News: email@example.com
• NBC / MSNBC http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29104230/ns/nightly_news/t/contact-us/
• CNN http://www.cnn.com/feedback/tips/newstips.html
• Rachael Ray Show http://rachaelrayshow.com/show-info/be-on-the-show/
• Jane Velez Mitchell / CNN (she’s a huge animal activist) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Call 1-877-JVM-SAYS (1-877-586-7297), or
• Ellen Degeneres Show (submit DDR to be part of their “inspiring” show topics)http://ellen.warnerbros.com/show/respond/?PlugID=606