New Year brings hope to Detroit’s strays
We start the New Year by looking back at one of last year’s most downer dog stories (and there were many) — that of a stray pit bull who wandered into a hardware store and ended up getting euthanized, despite the efforts of rescue groups and a community to save him.
And we start – Happy New Year! — with what is both its latest twist and its silver lining:
A Detroit rescue group’s efforts to save that pit bull — named Ace – has moved an anonymous California woman to donate $1.5 million to build a no-kill shelter in a city that sorely needs one
Detroit Dog Rescue says the donation — in the form of stock options — came from a woman they described as “a fellow dog rescuer who is battling a life-threatening illness.”
“She just kind of nonchalanty, very humbly, just rambled off very quickly, ‘I just want you to know that we’re going to do this very fast and it’s just going to be a quick transfer of stocks to you guys. You should have the million dollars overnight,’” co-founder Daniel “Hush” Carlisle told Channel 4 News. “And I was like, ‘Excuse me? Did you just say a million dollars?’”
On November 4, the rescue learned through emails and Facebook posts that a dog had wandered into an Ace Hardware store on E. McNichols. He was emaciated, and there were wounds on his neck. DDR staff rushed to the store — knowing all stray pit bulls seized in Detroit are euthanized — but animal control had arrived there first.
“Due to Detroit Animal Control’s egregious policy of euthanizing 100 percent of dogs that they deem to be pit bulls or pit mixes, we knew that Ace would almost certainly be put down,” DDR’s account of the story on its website explains.
“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 Detroit Animal Control would release him.”
Ace’s supporters attended a city council meeting to urge the dog be released.
Despite that, city health department officials said Ace wouldn’t be released, and that if no owner came forward, he would be killed after the mandatory four-day holding period.
An owner did come forward, after seeing Ace on the news, stating the dog had been stolen from her home. But when she arrived at animal control to claim her dog, the dog she was shown wasn’t her’s. Nor was it Ace, DDR says.
The rescue group suspected animal control might have euthanized Ace the day he arrived, and that it was attempting to cover it up.
Hiring lawyers, the rescue group and the owner went to court and were granted an injunction that barred animal control from killing any dogs resembling Ace until a hearing could be held.
On Nov. 10, though, animal control reported it had euthanized Ace.
“We at Detroit Dog Rescue believe that Detroit Animal Control put the dog they tried to pass off as Ace down early rather than have to prove whether he was or was not 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,” the DDR website says.
While unsuccessful in saving the dog, DDR’s efforts impressed the mystery donor.
DDR spokesman David Rudolph said the donor tracked the organization’s work after seeing it on TV in May, and decided to make the donation after learning about the group’s attempt to save Ace.
Carlisle said the donation brought him to tears. “To have a donation of this size given to us in the amount of time that we’ve been up, 10 months, it’s going to be a really exciting time,” he said.
On top of that donation, DDR — whose budget had reportedly shrunk to $43 at one point — saw an influx of donations, more than $200,000, after it was featured on an NBC Nightly News segment called “Making a Difference.”
“This donation is just the beginning,” said Monica Martino, who co-founded the organization after city officials denied a Discovery Channel request to film her series “A Dog’s Life.”
“While Hush and I were working on the streets of Detroit, we saw firsthand the true scope and scale of the stray dog situation. This problem in Detroit is an epidemic and the system that is in place to control it is broken. The first step is to build a no-kill shelter.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
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