Detroit Animal Control Being Sued by Everybody

Warning:  There are disturbing images at the links.


ACO Brittany Roberts has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Detroit Animal Control after she says she was fired in September for advocating for the animals in the facility.  Ms. Roberts says she saw seriously injured pets impounded and left to suffer without vet care until they died.  One dog who had been hit by a car was left in a wheelbarrow at the pound for days.  The wheelbarrow is normally used to transport dead bodies to the freezer.

In interviews with local media, Ms. Roberts said the dogs were never walked and were forced to live in their own waste.  Illness was rampant throughout the facility and she often saw healthy animals become sick very quickly.  Many animals died in their cages from illness or starvation.  Workers would walk around the facility each morning to count the number of animals that had survived the night.  Those still alive would get food thrown onto the feces and urine covered floors of their cages.

Ms. Roberts was appalled at the cruelty she observed but says no one in a position of leadership would listen to her concerns.  After she began documenting the inhumane practices, she was fired.

Among the other allegations made in the lawsuit:

  • Pets were not scanned for microchips.
  • Sick animals were housed with healthy animals.
  • Animals were cramped into cages which were too small for them.
  • A litter of six orphaned pups was impounded and the director refused to release them to rescue or allow another mama dog to nurse them.  They slowly starved to death.
  • A 7 pound dog was hanged in a chokepole by the neck while an ACO carried the pole around the facility.

The whistleblower lawsuit is just one of many currently filed against Detroit Animal Control.  Several owners whose dogs were impounded due to lack of licenses have also filed lawsuits.  The dogs are held at the pound until the owner can produce proof of ownership deemed acceptable by DAC and pay the penalty fees which accrue daily.  One owner says he was visiting from South Carolina when DAC took his dogs away for lack of Michigan licenses.  Another says her two dogs were licensed but she couldn’t produce the documentation to prove it so her dogs were impounded.  Both got sick at DAC and one died.

Then there’s this bit of say whaaaaa:

That brings us back to [pound director] Harry Ward. He also has a dog being held in the shelter. His 6-year-old Mastiff, Peaches, lives in the shelter, but he’s not paying the daily fees.

“It makes you want to do a better job with everybody’s dog, when you know that your dog is here too.” Ward said

Peaches will not be adopted out to a home, and will continue living in her cage. All the while, her food, room, and board is all being paid for by taxpayers.

And if you don’t like them apples, I guess you know, so what.

The city’s response to the lawsuits and allegations was initially uh, hide but when that failed to make the situation go away, they tried announcing that the pound will now super generously allow other groups besides the scammy Michigan Inhumane to pull animals.  So come on down to DAC and grab yerself some sick animals out the wheelbarrow to take to your vet for expensive treatment.  Just remember not to take the director’s dog.  Because she lives there.  Because I don’t know.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

25 thoughts on “Detroit Animal Control Being Sued by Everybody

  1. Aren’t these the same folks who dragged dead dogs through the streets to their trucks after a police raid on a house? Clearly some quality human beings, there.

    Since we probably can’t get all the animals out, then burn the place to the ground (as would be appropriate), I guess lawsuits are the only other way to make the powers that be at least glance in the shelter’s direction.

    But it sounds very like Memphis – where those in charge don’t care what happens there and are just fine with massive abuse and killings as long as they get to go home at 5 o’clock every day. I just don’t know what the answer is for Detroit. I just don’t know.

  2. AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH! Somebody PUH-LEEEZ! Stop the insanity!!!!!! Like cant the crazy mofo’s who shoot up schools actually find people who deserve shooting – like the uncaring shelter directors??!!! (Obviously I dont really support crazy shootings (because innocent people might get hurt) but just to make a point of how frustrated I am about all this nonsense.)

  3. All these things happen on a daily basis and the “director” (and his minions) need to be removed immediately. There are rescues who are working to get animals out, but not enough and not fast enough. Having a partner like Michigan Humane (which isn’t) doesn’t help either. If this reminds you of Memphis, Matthew Pepper is now the CEO of Michigan Humane Society. It’s beyond horrible!

  4. This makes me sick to my stomach. From what I read online, Michigan is one big mess financially, and Detroit is its poster child for corruption and financial irresponsibility. It hasn’t helped that taxpayers have been forced to pay for bailouts to keep Detroit out of bankruptcy. I can’t help but think that those bailouts have contributed to a mentality of business as usual. I wish something could be done about both Memphis and Detroit. Very similar situations and equally disgusting. And Matthew Pepper gets hired on as CEO of the Michigan Humane Society?? I wish someone smarter than me could come up with a plan for legally putting people and organizations like this out of commission.

  5. Mr Ward was ready with his “blame the public” defense, alluding to the horrors of their pre-DAC lives. How much worse could they be? And oh, just out of curiosity, no cats at this “shelter?” As usual, it’s ALL about the dogs.

    1. I don’t think anyone is surprised by anything this man does. And keeping his personal dog there . . . and some of the workers, apparently, keep their dogs there. Interesting that they are all pits or pit mixes. Me thinks something stinks!

      1. Why the hell would you bring your personal dog into ‘work’ and keep it in a cage – is that one of only a few cages that get cleaned decently? When the freak-ass director says his dog ‘lives’ there, does that mean it doesn’t even go home with the jerk when he leaves ‘work’ for the day? What kind of an asshole is he (and anyone else who does that)?

        Susan, do you really *want* cats to have to be there too? It sure as shit seems that even though the city has so many problems, and the weather is soon to turn colder and shittier, any animal at all that is OUT of the hellhole, is better off than any poor soul that gets taken in there. A billboard idea – get a pic of the building and put “Abandon all hope, all who enter” over the door!

  6. How about they let the public into the facility they pay for and adopt animals? That would be a great way to improve their public image right there. But then, the public would see all the criminal animal abuse happening in a governement building. They would have to do their damn jobs if they allowed that.

  7. They do have cats there. And so far they are keeping a death grip on all of them (including kittens) even as they allow some of the dogs to be sent out to neighboring communities and rescues.

    Still no public adoptions though. Because they might have to actually do something resembling their job then.

    1. And tyoically cats receive much more inhumane treatment at the hands of Animal Control than dogs, but not one word about them. Nothing.

  8. The fact cats aren’t being released was in an article that came out yesterday. It was mentioned because some groups were trying to get them out too, but DAC has dug their heels in about them for some unknown reason.

    Are they getting as much press as the dogs? No. And that is in part due to DAC refusing to let them go. No pictures to publish. But they aren’t completely forgotten.

  9. You dont see any cats because there is a 100% euthanasia rate on these poor cats. That was also in a article I read (wish I could remember which one, there have been so many) So….you dont see these poor felines because they are all killed !

  10. That place needs to be cleaned from top to bottom………get rid of all the inhumane staff……….turn that place over to rescues for a hold place till fosters can be found………can’t believe this has gone on so long……….and how in the world did Harry Ward get that job?

  11. Sorry, but MHS is also high kill, but maybe the animals don’t suffer quite so much until they are killed. The whole mess stinks! Fortunately, there are some very good people who actually care about the animals who are working on this. They are the only hope for the animals who end up there.

  12. Fortunately, as you all know, the update is a good one. Because of the efforts of so many Protesters to the Detroit Animal Control, and it’s Director Harry Ward……he has been removed FROM THAT POSITION, and a new Director, Melissa Miller has been installed to replace him there. After MUCH media coverage, we were FINALLY heard, and the Mayor of Detroit was forced to give the animals a fighting chance, by making demanded changes. The Detroit Animal Care and Control is now a No Kill Shelter. Thank you for your support. Happy New Year !!!!!!!!

    1. Excellent. Thank you for the great news. Sometimes it seems hopeless but if it can be done in Detroit, it can be done everywhere.

      1. I’m just impressed that they got rid of the monster in charge. No longer being All-Kill is a damn good start.

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