Detroit police shot, killed 74 dogs over 3 years: Here’s how a nonprofit is working to protect dogs

In most cases, dogs are shot while running loose

DETROIT – The number of dogs shot and killed by Detroit police officers has steadily increased over the last three years.

In 2020, Detroit police killed 14 dogs. In 2021, Detroit police killed 25 dogs. In 2022, Detroit police killed 35 dogs. That’s a total of 74 dogs.

Some dogs are shot on their own property, usually when police are searching for something or chasing a suspect -- but many times, police officers come in contact with loose dogs on the street.

View: All of our coverage on Detroit police shootings involving dogs

Jim Freemon and his team of volunteers help protect dogs through C.H.A.I.N.E.D., one of several nonprofits trying to make Detroit better for dogs.

Mistreated dogs are often confined to chains and they quickly develop behavioral problems. When they escape their yards or are let loose, they can be dangerous. With a secure pen, a dog can be safe and even a little more comfortable.

It is illegal to chain your dog in Detroit for more than three hours at a time. Despite the ordinance, some dog owners chain their dogs -- sometimes all day.

Detroit Animal Control said they can’t enforce the chaining law because it means Animal Control officers would have to sit and watch a dog on a chain for three hours.

There have been 250 citations given so far this year to dog owners. Animal Control also said many times citations are ignored and nothing changes.

Do you have more information about this or a similar story? Reach out to Karen Drew at

Detroit Police Department reports

About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.