Detroit may consider changing pit bull policy

Rescue groups to meet with city council Monday

DETROIT - Detroit animal control may consider changing a long standing policy in which it refuses to adopt out so-called muscle and aggressive breeds like pit bulls, rottweilers and dobermans. The idea was to keep those breeds out of the hands of irresponsible pet owners.

The campaign to have animal control change its policy began last week when a pit bull nicknamed Ace, was euthanized after being found in a Detroit hardware store.

A number of animal rescue groups asked Detroit City Council members to let them have the dog so it can be put up for adoption.

A Wayne County judge on Wednesday signed an emergency injunction in the euthanasia of Ace. But, Bruce King, general manager of Detroit's Environmental Health Services, said the Detroit Animal Control never got it. He said Ace was euthanized Wednesday night.  

"We are not insensitive to the overwhelming appeal from citizens for an alternative approach," King said. "We are, indeed, heartened by these appeals. However, if we grant this one exception, we are simply not set up for what will undoubtedly lead to overwhelming appeals in similar cases."

King said Ace was put down following expiration of the four-day holding period and department policy.

Nitta Moses said she recognized the dog as the one she had raised since a puppy when she saw him on television. She said she hasn't seen him since July, when he was stolen.

But when she went to the Detroit Animal Control center on Wednesday to claim him, accompanied by her attorney, she said a different dog was brought out to her. "This is not the same dog," Moses said. She and her attorney, Corbett Edge O'Meara, said they had a sneaking suspicion the dog had already been put down before their visit.

"If we can change this policy, the tragedy that is Ace's death has not been in vain," O'Meara said. "I was preparing a request that the city of Detroit, the Department of Health, be held in contempt of court for violating it. But, if they are willing to change their policy, we can save these animals. If we can change the policy of the city of Detroit, I don't want to fight them."

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