The Tuh Files: There is a Shortage of Dogs in Michigan

In August, Bloomberg ran a piece claiming there were 50,000 stray dogs in Detroit, MI – a claim widely disputed by various animal advocates.  (We talked about it on the blog at the time.)  Michigan Humane Society, which doesn’t hold an animal control contract but functions primarily as a pet killing facility anyway, was not one of the agencies disputing the figure at the time.  In fact, they tried to fundraise off the claim.

Regardless of the what actual number is, Detroit does have stray dogs and they are being killed at a horrifying rate at area animal shelters.  When asked about the ACOs who work in the field, rounding up the city’s stray dogs, AC head Harry Ward told Bloomberg:

“We are really suffering from fatigue, short staffed” and work too much overtime, he said in an interview.

Kristen Huston from All About Animals Rescue talked about the problem of widespread breeding among owned pets allowed to roam the streets of Detroit:

She said many dogs that appear to be abandoned actually have owners who allow them to wander. Those dogs often end up breeding with others, exacerbating the problem.

Daniel Carlisle of Detroit Dog Rescue also addressed the problem of uncontrolled breeding among stray dogs in the city:

“And the warehouses are large doghouses. They’re walking into these places, they’re bedding down in them and they’re mating.”

But while the city ACOs are working overtime to get stray dogs off the streets and into the kill rooms at area shelters, Michigan Humane is importing dogs from TN in a pretty white van with their logo on it, all shined up for the TV news crews.

Because there is a shortage of dogs in Michigan.

Because everyone in Michigan neuters their pets.

And other myths.

From WATE:

“Our centers are not full,” said Erin Campbell with the Michigan Humane Society. “We don’t often have small dogs or puppies. It seems spay and neutering has taken off so that’s why don’t have the puppies that are in the south.”

When a pet killing facility imports shelter animals from out of state, it appears they are doing it for personal profit and/or publicity.  They are obviously not doing it to save animals since they are killing pets they already have.  In the case of Michigan Humane, they are claiming to have empty space while simultaneously asking for donations to help save the supposed 50,000 stray dogs in Detroit.  And driving to Knoxville for more.  Apparently 50,000 dogs don’t stretch as far as they used to.

I hope the next time Michigan Humane sends its shiny logo van to the south to import more dogs into its pet killing facility, the local news will do a piece on displacement killing.  And fraud.  It’s always disappointing when reporters don’t lift the veil on the feel-good stories being fed to them.  All it would take is the tiniest bit of research to uncover the fact that Michigan Humane kills pets instead of saving them while bilking compassionate donors out of millions of dollars.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

39 thoughts on “The Tuh Files: There is a Shortage of Dogs in Michigan

  1. Are there any good shelters left? I’m sick to death of their lies and how they keep protecting their asses! They make me sick and I have to wonder what keeps these ACO’s in jobs they apparently hate! I wish we could ease their lies and misery and show them out the door! With the shortage of jobs, it would be great to have a full time monitor at each shelter!

  2. I believe there are many good shelters left. We hear about the bad ones. However,.I think the non-profit laws need to be revised to disallow stockpiling millions garnered through misleading donation begs, and holding special interest nonprofits to a higher standard than they currently are.

  3. Thank you for keeping the truth about MHS in the public’s eye. From the glossy PR stuff they put out there, you’d think they had 99.9% adoptions and are doing wonderful things. The reality is that they are a killing factory and they have some . . . uh . . . interesting criteria about what makes an animal “adoptable”.
    The truth is that there are many smaller rescues who are doing good work in the Detroit area with the dogs you are describing – Detroit Bully Corp, Providing for Paws, CHAINED, are just a few. While MHS is figuring out their next fund-raising campaign, these rescues are out doing the real work, saving dogs.
    In fact, if you have a little bit of extra money and would like to donate, DBC (and others) together took on a litter of 1 day old puppies being sold on Craigslist. The pups are safe, being taken care of by fosters and get fatter and cuter by the day. The owner of the puppies and the mother refused to sell the mother or even allow her to take care of her puppies until weaned.
    It’s a tough job, but there are GOOD folks trying like crazy to make a difference for the animals in Detroit.

  4. Hi xxxxx,

    Thank you for writing the Michigan Humane Society. The situation in Detroit is certainly one that is of concern to MHS and we are on the streets every day doing what we can to help the animals in need. While MHS is not affiliated with the city-run Detroit Animal Control, MHS cares for more than 5,000 of the City’s stray animals each year. Additionally, MHS’ famed animal cruelty investigators, known as Detroit’s “Animal Cops,” and emergency rescue personnel manage approximately 10,000 calls a year regarding animals in abusive, or neglectful situations or matters of imminent danger.

    MHS also operates a series of proactive animal focused programs called “Keeping Families Together” that are designed to keep beloved pets in their homes despite challenging economic times within the City of Detroit; this includes a free pet food pantry, low-cost vaccination and microchipping clinics, low-cost sterilization, free behavior assistance and much more. Finally, MHS is working hard to expand its extensive care services and work in the City of Detroit as the needs are significant.

    We are able to continue our Cruelty and Rescue departments along with these programs and expand them through the generosity if donors. The Michigan Humane Society is a private, non-profit organization that is receives no government funding and is not affiliated with any other humane organization. We would greatly appreciate your support so we can continue to help the animals in need in our community.

    In regards to the blog post you linked to, The Michigan Humane Society has a 100% adoption rate for healthy dogs and cats. We are fortunate that, when resources allow, we are able assist other areas that may be struggling to place even highly adoptable pets. This is great example of the growing trend of animal welfare organizations working together in order to save more lives.

    Along with our three metro Detroit adoption centers, MHS works with 7 off-site adoption partner locations, allowing us to place thousands of additional animals each year.

    I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if I can answer any other questions you may have. Thank you for your concern about these animals.


    Ryan McTigue
    Public Relations Coordinator
    Michigan Humane Society
    30300 Telegraph Rd, Suite 220
    Bingham Farms, MI 48025
    248.283.1000, ext. 150
    Somebody Here Needs You.

    Ask and you shall receive – here is the response I got.

      1. Its nice to see the city I grew up in has good numbers. Refer to page 4 number 45. I no longer live in MI I am in TN now. Huge problems here with animals.

  5. Emailed him and asked for their save rate. He rewrote the second paragraph and gave me the same link as you posted if I wanted more information. Imagine they’ll be done with me when I share this with him. Thanks!

  6. I think this is one of the biggest scams perpetrated on animal lovers, especially in the south. People constantly tell me that there aren’t kill shelters up north; or people up north care more about pets than those in the south; or people in the north s/n more than those in the south. I just heard about a group in Houston shipping a lot of dogs to CO…. yet there is a group called No Kill Colorado which makes me believe that there are, in fact, kill shelters in CO. So are those shipped Houston dogs causing dogs in CO to be killed for “lack of space”?

    Also, Houston is home to FIVE pet disposal facilities, masquerading as “shelters”, who are killing 80,000 animals per year. The Houston SPCA had a 65% Kill rate the last time that they released their numbers (and I actually think the kill rate is higher now). However, this pet killing facility has repeatedly shipped in animals to their facility. I just saw an ad where they flew in a bunch of Chihuahuas from CA in October. They did this last year as well, and I know for a fact, that they killed at least one of them because of “behavioral issues”. Not to mention that I have heard from former employees who told me that the HSPCA has killed ALL the animals in their facility before doing a so called “rescue”. They plan their “marketing” plans and media blitzes before they plan the “rescue”. It all for donations. They take in millions in donations from animal lovers who think that they are helping to save lives. But, they are just funding mass killing.

    It is a despicable scam.

  7. It is! We need to keep the truth before the public and hope that enough of them will stop supporting this kind of killing and intentional misrepresentation.

  8. MHS live relase rate 37% and they are proud of the fact that they kill 72%? Yet they falsely claim they place 100% of the “healthy animals”? You expect me to actually believe that 72% of all that come through the MHS doors are too sick to save? I call BS on that. MHS is just a money making front for greedy AR activists. ACO’s are politicians, and so are the spokespeople for MHS. If a politician’ slips are moving, they are lying. They are incapable of telling the truth. The “cooperative efforts with other agencies” is nothing more than a money making scheme to sell puppies for profit while the “not small, young, and fluffy” dogs are killed. In other words MHS and these other “humane organizations” are running puppy mills for profit.

    1. They are not alone, we have a large, wealthy and politically connected faux ‘humane society’ in my state that is nothing more than an untaxed retail pet store. They turn their backs on homeless dogs (they let AC do the actual dirty work, while claiming “no-kill” label for themselves) and instead import dogs from southern states by the thousands to sell for $300 to $500 each. Funny how they have puppies constantly available.

  9. Unfortunately, we have the problem here with no-kill shelters and rescues opting to use their resources to rescue transport puppies (mostly large breeds) and in some cases their mothers as well. This also results in displacement killing since these “rescues” often result in:
    1) Less adoptions of local adult dogs from these facilities (hard to compete with cute puppies)
    2) Reduces rescues of dogs in local kill shelters

    The problem with this mentality is short-term thinking. We save lives by directly pulling an animal AND inspiring/pressuring under-performing organizations through our success, If we can point to high adoption rates, short lengths of stay for the SAME type of dogs in local high kill animal control shelters we can:

    1) Put pressure on politicians pointing to this data
    2) Reduce donations to these pet-killing factories

    Obviously, it is worse when kill shelters do it. However, other organizations need to be called out as well.

  10. Oh what a tangled web we weave . . . For years I have maintained that the relationship between many so-called “humane societies” and the public is demented, the perfect example of “lying with statistics”. The public continues to believe that shelters are the good guys across the board, and of course this belief is created by the shelters themselves, leaving the public to ask the chef if the food is good.

    What if we were to focus on Consumer Protection? Would the public – and our lawmakers – be more objective?

  11. MHS is far from perfect.
    This blog has oainted a picture of them that is not true (or at least a large exageration) Yes there kill rate is to high. But yes there are alot of dogs brought in there that are not adoptable. Is it 72% of intact that isnt adoptable? i doubt it.
    Should mhs be bring dogs from out of state? NO ABSOLUTLY NOT! If they really “need” puppies and small dogs i promise there are shelters in Michigan that have pelenty of them and would deff be willing to share with mhs.
    TO portray DAC and Harry Ward as hard working and out helping the animals is completly untrue. To say they are out there working hard while mhs is doing nothing or hardly anything is flat out untrue.

    Why is it when someone doesnt like a group or rescue they are called “Haters” Why not just say there are alot of people who dislike XXgroup?
    Looking at DDR page you will not see many “haters” since DDR deletes most comments that are benifical to them and blocks almost every person who questions them. Until recently (last few months) DDR mission statement was to save and rescue the stray dogs of detroit and build a no kill shelter. however they have changed the wording of their mission to to say bring awearness to the forgotten , abused, homeless aniamls of detroit. They continue to ask for money to save/rescue the strays of detroit yet cant pick them up cause they say they arent allwed to. 2 reasons that is a bunch of bs.
    1. almost 2 years ago ddr stated they were working on completing 100 hours of training so they would be allowed to pick up strays in the city of detroit. But to this day still arent allowed to pick them up? Have they not finished the 100 hrs in 2 years time? you would assume that being allowed to pick up strays would be a priority to them but i guess not.
    2. this is detroit code and law for picking up/finding stray dogs…
    Sec. 6-2-7. – Treatment of stray dogs.permanent link to this piece of content
    The Animal Control Division is authorized to capture and impound any stray dog that is on public property and to return, sell, transfer, or euthanize any such animal in accordance with this chapter.
    *****(b)***** (this one is important to read)
    It shall be the duty of all persons to immediately notify the Animal Control Division regarding any stray dog under their control and, UPON REQUEST, to turn over any stray dog to the Animal Control Division. The Animal Control Division shall impound, register, and promptly notify the owner of the dog, if any, at his or her last known address.
    (if you find a stray you have to call to let them know you found it and then you can ask if you may hold the dog for its stray hold and AC has the option to allow this or not)
    It shall be unlawful for any person to harbor, hold, or keep for reward any dog which has strayed upon the premises or property of such person, or has been picked up on a public highway or other public place unaccompanied by its owner, or has been stolen from the owner.
    It shall be unlawful for any person other than the owner to procure a license for any dog which has strayed upon the premises or property of such person, or has been picked up on a public highway or other public place unaccompanied by its owner, or has been stolen from the owner.
    ******(e)****** (important part)
    The provisions of this section prohibiting the harboring, holding, or keeping and licensing a stray dog shall not apply to any nonprofit corporation that is organized for the purpose of sheltering dogs or to a legal purchaser of a dog from such organization.(Ord. No. 04-04, § 1, 1-30-04)
    **(notice it says, does not apply to nonprofits that shelter dogs. It does not say run a shelter but shelter (as in provide some form of shelter like foster home or boarding).
    I dont want to turn this into a debate on DDR.
    This blog/article is about MHS. Do i think they should be importing dogs NO WAY! Did this article speak untrue things about MHS and DAC yes.
    Ill leave it that. If anyone would like information about DDR and why they are not a good rescue i would be happy to share what i know and also have proof or evidence to support any claims i make against them.

  12. I think the main focus of this thread is MHS. I said I don’t have the facts about DDR, and I’m not on the streets of Detroit. However, I have had dealings with MHS and have found them to be anything but “humane” in their actual dealings with animals. And if you don’t think that your diatribe against DDR sounds like you are a “hater” then please reread what you have written.
    I stand by my opinion that MHS is no better than HSUS, ASPCA or some of the other BIG organizations that are mostly interested in feathering their own nests.

  13. This is exactly what is wrong with the Asilomar reports. I see high kill shelters lying and hiding behind this “healthy, adoptable” crap all the time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the animal is only designated as “unadoptable” because it hasn’t been adopted yet. Shelters all need to be held accountable to the 90% standard, no if’s ands or buts… no qualifiers. I am believer in transports in some circumstances. I believe that California Chihuahuas will have a better chance of survival in states that don’t have as many. I did a Petfinder search for Chihuahuas in Cali and found 3000 in a 100 mile radius. Upstate New York has less than 300. That being said, I totally think that the local rescues have every right to disagree and that high kill communities, shouldn’t be importing more dogs to kill since they already have a problem that have to fix. There are shelters that import into Dallas which currently has an LRR of 40%? (I think that is probably on the high side) and killing over a thousand animals a month. They don’t need more animals to rescue and/or kill. Frankly, it breaks my heart that as many Pitbulls get adopted out in San Antonio to Houston, which has a “no adoptions for pitbull lookalikes” policy. Particularly since Houston is much higher kill than SA now.

    1. Victoria, do you know who is sending Pit Bulls (or lookalikes) to Houston? And/or do you know who, in Houston, is taking them? Since the five Houston/Harris Co pet disposal facilities are killing around 80,000 per year, and as you said, 3 of them refuse to adopt out those dogs, I’d really love to know who is shipping more of them here. Thanks!

  14. Fraud? hmm, that’s an interesting take on the situation. I don’t think it’s deliberate — at least I do not want to believe it’s deliberate — I think it’s ignorance at work that they don’t even realize OR care that they are committing fraud — maybe a bit of bravado involved or even anti-socialism, it’s all about what works for them, to heck with anyone else. VERY misleading to claim that dogs are running wild in the streets while importing other’s in from another area. Certainly not what I think of when one speaks of humane relocation.

    1. I believe these organizations know exactly what they are doing. And I don’t think their mission is to save all animals, but to hold onto all the power and money they can get. It’s pure old greed and ego – sorry, but that’s my opinion. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be killing millions of animals – adoptable animals – and bringing in the cute little fluffies that make them the bucks (and maybe make their statistics look better, too). Sorry to be so jaded, but I am.

  15. WE NEED TO BRING TO ATTENTION TO WHITEHOUSE THAT ANIMAL FINES FROM ANIMALS AND THE cruelty fines and all animal citations should be vrought forth and dispersered back to help animals Instead of lack of workers because there is no funding. It makes me sick to think that the government makes moneys of the avails off animal/mammal CRUELTY. PLUS MORE SEVERE amimal/MAMMAL CRUELTY LAWS WORLDWIDE

Leave a Reply