Detroit Animal Care and Control making changes after dog's controversial death

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter, Kayla Clarke

DETROIT - Complaints about terrible conditions and horrific care plagued Detroit Animal Care and Control for years.

When the Duggan administration came into power changes were made but even the city would agree things aren't where they need to be. Tensions are rising over what happened to a dog named Lux.

Lux the pit bull mix came to Detroit Animal Care and Control with a prolapsed rectum. There was no one to provide care for him and Detroit Dog Rescue was called to see if it could help.

The rescue was slammed and told DACA it couldn’t. Forty-eight hours later DDR’s Kristina Rinaldi got a call things were critical. DDR came to get Lux but it was too late.

“We took him to the best specialists in Michigan, Oakland Veterinary Referral Services and there was nothing they could do,” Rinaldi said.

While at DACA Lux was given medication for pain which also has diarrhea as a side effect. The result was a dog with a treatable condition ultimately ended up with his GI tract falling out of his body.

For Rinaldi, the Lux situation was the last straw. While she sees progress at DACA over the  last several years she also sees an operation that is seemingly rudderless without necessary staff and funding.

“Usually unless a rescue group can step up, and it’s not just DDR there are many rescues out here that are helping, but the need is so great these people and these dogs are not getting the resources they need.”

It’s not just Lux. Rinaldi has hundreds of call sheets from Detroit residents calling her rescue because they can’t get anyone at DACA to pick up the phone. She has tried over the past five years to help DACA get more veterinary services but she says there is no follow through which is why she’s speaking publicly.

The city for its part says progress has been made but admits more needs to happen. It will be doubling the number of field officers from nine to 18. Some may start as early as next week. DACA has expanded hours and has two new trucks. It also just received a $123,000 grant with $1.3 million from the city.

Rinaldi says these promises have been made it in the past, she’s hoping this time it happens. She doesn’t blame the workers for what is happening but rather the turnover in management.

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