National Animal Shelter Reform Week: CAPA Could Have Saved Ace

Many readers have been following the story of Ace – a Pitbull picked up by Detroit Animal Control (DAC) on November 4.  Ace was named after the hardware store where he was found.  The owner of the store thought that calling AC was the right thing to do to help Ace.  He did not realize the pound was determined to kill him.  (Read the store owner’s heartbreaking letter to Ace.)

Rescue groups offered to take Ace from DAC.  The city council president intervened to try to stop the city from killing Ace.  A judge issued an order to the city not to kill Ace or any dog that looks like him until a hearing could be held on the case.  But DAC killed Ace anyway – because they could.  A statement from the city on the killing of Ace reads, in part:

We are not insensitive to the overwhelming appeal from citizens for an alternative approach. We are, indeed, heartened by these appeals. However, if we grant this one exception, we are simply not set up for what will undoubtedly lead to overwhelming appeals in similar cases.

See, it’s not that they aren’t moved by the lifesaving efforts of people who care about Ace, it’s just that, if they kept Ace alive, everyone would want one.  Which is of course, totally absurd.  What is Detroit going to do – stop killing Pitbulls altogether?  Crazy talk!

More from the city’s statement:

We are proud of the dedication of Detroit Animal Control Manager, Harry Ward and his officers for risking their lives every day protecting residents of this city. Attacking their character and integrity is disingenuous, disconcerting and disappointing. We receive calls every year from hundreds of citizens who are appreciative for the work they do.

They’re proud.  Gee, that’s swell.  And yeah, they needlessly killed a dog rescuers were begging to save but look – there are other dogs still sucking oxygen in Detroit.  They haven’t killed them!  So give the city a break!

If MI had the Companion Animal Protection Act in place, the city would be legally prevented from killing pets rescuers are willing to save and from killing pets based on arbitrary criteria such as breed.

If you are a MI resident concerned with saving pets like Ace from needless killing at your shelters, here is a 4 step guide on how to get CAPA passed.  (If you are in another state which lacks a rescue access law, this guide works for you too!)  Please take the time to read through the guide and share it with anyone you think might make use of it.  Let us know if you have comments, questions or thoughts on getting CAPA passed in your state.  And especially let us know if we can count on you to try.

The homeless pets in MI can’t wait any longer for public shelter employees to decide if they will ever stop killing pets simply because they can.  They need you to take action to get CAPA introduced in MI.  Take away the discretion of shelter directors to decide whether they will allow a pet to be saved from their kill room.  Take action to empower rescuers and save the lives of shelter pets by getting CAPA introduced in MI.

9 thoughts on “National Animal Shelter Reform Week: CAPA Could Have Saved Ace

    1. Right now, the city appears to be employing the “What judge’s order? We didn’t see no judge’s order” excuse. Not sure how that will hold up in court but I understand the rescuer who hand-delivered the court order to the city is planning to sue.

  1. “However, if we grant this one exception, we are simply not set up for what will undoubtedly lead to overwhelming appeals in similar cases.”

    Oh. My. God. Am I really reading this right? If they let this one dog be rescued, they might have to let an overwhelming number of other dogs be rescued too. And they’re just not set up to do that, because they’re set up to kill dogs, not save them. And if all those dogs get rescued – in other words, find homes, then they’ll have nothing left to kill.

    This has got to be one of the most bizarre, insane statements I’ve ever read. And it gets worse:

    “We are proud of the dedication of Detroit Animal Control Manager, Harry Ward and his officers for risking their lives every day protecting residents of this city.”

    Risking their lives? We’re talking about dogs, not man-eating tigers!! They’re risking their lives protecting people from their…pets?

    These people have lost their minds.

  2. Why is it that we allow animal control people who have no compassion nor empathy for animals to work with animals? As a society we surely can be more selective than to allow those who treat animals who cannot defend themselves so poorly. Each and every person should be outraged at the animal control shelters not only in Memphis and Detroit, but all across the nation. This is the time when we all say as a collective group enough is enough. We’re sick of it and we won’t stand for it anymore.

    The legislators across the entire country need to pass CAPA. Those who violate the law must be held accountable with sentences and punishments that reflect our outrage. No more small fines and suspended sentences. It is outrageous that any animal should suffer at the hands of those who are hired to shelter and protect them. Enough is enough. Pass CAPA.

  3. As one extremist to the rest of you extremists, here’s my hope. A judge entered an order. Certain people either chose to ignore it or simply remained ignorant of it, in spite of the clear attention paid to this one dog. The order was violated, plain and simple. The consequences for that likely will be worse in the court of public opinion than in the real courtroom. As someone within the legal system who deals with municipalities, I don’t see heads rolling over this unless people get fire. Which, of course, they should be.

    I would hope that this killing would shine a very, very, very bright light on this facilty, causing it to have a shift in culture. Now is the time to show that they don’t have to die and that no kill is not about spending more money. It can actually save money. You keep them out of the building in the first place and if they end up there despite best efforts, you get them out fast. Fewer animals means lower costs.

    CAPA can spread from state to state. What’s it gonna be, Michigan? More like Ace or and end to the culture which says, “well, it was just a dog.”

    1. OT but I just noticed your avi is Jerry. TY for honoring her memory.

      Back on topic: This outlet is reporting Ace was killed before the mandatory hold was up. I haven’t seen any other sources reporting this. If anyone does, please let us know.

  4. You forgot to mention that DAC is now threatening to seize the dogs owned by the rescue who brought all this negative attenton to them for killing Ace. A lot of the dogs they would confiscate are pit bulls, so those dogs would also die.

    Or at least, I heard from somebody that says there are reports about it. I hope it isn’t true.

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