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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.

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