Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Letter to the Michigan Department of Agriculture

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing concerning the current situation involving Detroit Animal Control and a stray dog who has come to be known as "Ace."

I am requesting information as to why DAC is not reporting intake, euthanasia, RTO, and adoption numbers on an annual basis. I am also requesting information regarding the steps your office has taken to enforce the annual reporting, and if any citation or reprimand has ever been given for their lack of compliance.

I know there are bigger things going on in the state right now than delving into the euthanasia of one dog. However, this is about more than just about a single dog. It is about a pattern of corrupt practices in a city department that the Michigan Department of Agriculture is supposed to be overseeing.

By refusing to negotiate with reputable rescues with a long-standing history of involvement within the city and subsequently defying a court order, Detroit Animal Control has fallen under scrutiny. A quick review of their reporting and euthanasia records reveals that they have not submitted an Annual Shelter Activity Report in at least five years.

The media all over state and in some other parts of the nation picked up on this story. As details unfolded, it became apparent that the dog known as "Ace" had been euthanized. The public has been informed that Ace was euthanized, either against a legal injunction or prior to the mandated 4-day stray hold had expired. The public, in many cases for the first time, is being exposed to animal cruelty and neglect and the reality of euthanasia. They are personalizing this starving, scared dog, and seeing breed discrimination at play. Ace has quickly become a symbol of frustration in the lack of accountability the Detroit Animal Control has to any department in the State of Michigan.

This has now grown bigger than just about the life of one dog. The story of Ace has now become about a system that has failed every standard and benchmark set in the nation for humane care of animals and has somehow not been held accountable for their lack of annual reporting.

Please take action. Please investigate DAC on their non-compliance with reporting.

Thank you for your time.


Melissa A. Szumlinski, CPDT-KA

Department of Agriculture and Rural Development States:An Animal Control Shelter is defined by state law as "a facility operated by a municipality for the impoundment and care of animals (dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, hedgehogs, sugar gliders, or any other non-rodent, non-livestock mammal) that are found in the streets or at large, animals that are otherwise held due to the violation of a municipal ordinance or state law, or animals that are surrendered to the animal control shelter." An Animal Protection Shelter is "a facility operated by a person, humane society, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or any other nonprofit organization for the care of homeless animals (dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, hedgehogs, sugar gliders, or any other non-rodent, non-livestock mammals)." You will need an Animal Shelter Registration to operate an animal control or animal protection shelter. Please note that organizations which operate solely via foster home rescues are exempt and do not need an Animal Shelter Registration.

They must use this form

DAC is listed as a registered and licensed animal sheltering facility.

2010 Annual Animal Shelter Activity Report (No DAC Reporting)

2009 AASAR (No DAC Reporting)

2008 AASAR (No DAC Reporting)

2007 AASAR (No DAC Reporting)

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