Residents on high alert as dangerous dogs take over Highland Park neighborhood

Dogs living in abandoned home

By Kelley Kosuda - Producer

HIGHLAND PARK, Mich. - Dangerous stray dogs roaming a Highland Park neighborhood have neighbors worried. 

The dogs have taken up residence in an abandoned, blighted home on Hill Avenue.

Neighbors say the dogs would chase them while they walked through the alley to take out their trash, get into their cars, and even chased kids walking to school. Many neighbors say they would walk around with Tasers and pepper spray to keep themselves safe. 

Residents were unable to get the city to respond, so they called Help Me Hank.

The Help Me Hank team reached out to the Humane Society and other rescue groups, along with the city of Highland Park. 

Highland Park press secretary Marli Blackman said the city doesn’t have an animal control officer but the position will be filled soon. 

Highland Park police responded to our call first and went out to the property where the dogs were living. 

The dogs were taken by police to the Highland Park Fire Department, which called the Detroit Pit Crew to pick up the dogs that were rescued from the house. 

Local 4 was told by Highland Park city officials that when police arrived, one of the dogs became aggressive and was shot. 

A Facebook post by the Detroit Pit Crew said the dog died after being hit by a car. An official from the organization says that was the story they were told. 

City crews came to Hill Avenue the following day to board up the vacant homes, mow the grass and clean up the street to make it safer for neighbors and their children.

If you have an immediate problem that needs to be addressed in the city of Highland Park, call 313-252-0060, extension 258.

When an unfamiliar dog makes its way towards you, trainers recommend the following;
1.    Stay calm
2.    Try not to make any sudden moves
Stand still with your arms relaxed at your sides. Don’t wave them around or try to touch or pat the dog. Those movements can be interpreted as aggressive. 
3.    Don’t make eye contact with the dog
Look down at your feet or the dog’s feet to let it know you’re not a threat. 
4.    If the dog gets close to you, allow it to sniff you. 
If you’re too afraid to let it sniff you, slowly move to the side of the dog and away from it without turning your back to the animal. 
5.    If the animal attacks, fall to the ground and yell for help
Lie face down with your hands over your head so the dog cannot get to your face. 
6.    Try to cover the dog’s face 
Do this with a jacket or clothing to distract the animal. Putting a purse or a bag between you and the dog will help. 


First, check if your city or town has an animal control officer. The officer can temporarily house the dogs for a minimum number of days, allowing their owner(s) to reclaim them. Typically, the hold period ranges from three-five days. Michigan law treats pets as private property and owners have the right to reclaim their property. Residents also pay for this as a community service when they purchase licenses for their pets. 

It’s important to call your city or township first, because a potential owner would have no idea where to call otherwise. 

The Michigan Humane Society was a great help in explaining the proper protocol for animal rescuers:
•    Call the proper authority if you see a homeless animal
If you don’t know who the proper authority is, inquire by calling the Michigan Humane Society at 866-MHUMANE. 
•    The proper authority — and no one else — should rescue the homeless pets in question
•    The proper authority should then house the homeless animals for their municipality’s minimum-hold period, thus allowing the pets’ owner to reclaim them
•    If the pets go unclaimed they should then be placed up for adoption or transferred to an animal welfare group that markets adoptable pets

The Michigan Humane Society will respond to callers reporting sick, injured, or abused animals in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park. There are adoption centers in Detroit, Rochester Hills, and Westland. 

The Detroit Pit Crew is a nonprofit with a mission to rescue destitute dogs in Detroit, Michigan. They are a crew of street volunteers who work together to get as many stray, injured, pregnant and destitute dogs off the streets as possible. The rescue team spends time on the streets trapping strays and rescuing dogs out of desperate situations. It also bring to safety dogs that have been used for dog fighting or as bait dogs in dog-fighting rings.

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