Fired whistleblower calls Detroit Animal Control a 'slaughterhouse'

- A woman who was fired from the Detroit Animal Control Center is filing a whistleblower lawsuit, saying the shelter is a dog slaughterhouse. This case could just be the tip of the iceberg, revealing gruesome conditions for these pets.

WARNING: Some of the images and details in the story are graphic and may be disturbing to some.

Images taken at the Detroit Animal Shelter appear to show dogs left to die in their own blood, vomit and feces. Brittany Roberts says she was fired after complaining to management and documenting the alleged abuse.

"I was almost embarrassed with myself to be part of a team that played a role of the death of so many dogs in their cages," she tells FOX 2's Hannah Saunders. "The dogs, they don't get exercise; they're not let out of their cages; they're fed on the floor with feces."

Roberts has ten years of experience working for shelters across the country.

"It's our job to enforce the laws, and I just feel that me speaking up and asking, "I'm going to complain, I'm going to go to the state, I'm going to go higher.' Eventually they said, 'She's got to go.'"

She began working for the shelter in March, passionate about animals and hoping to make a difference. She knew she had to do something the day she says one dog was left for dead after being hit by a car.

"That's what we used, was the wheelbarrow to put the deceased dogs in the freezer. After I passed by her a second time, I walked in there and I realized she rolled her eyes back and looked at me and she was alive. She wasn't dead."

She calls the shelter a slaughterhouse and says dogs were rarely euthanized properly -- instead, neglected and mistreated until they died.

"Every morning, we'd just walk around and see who was alive before we could even feed," she says.

Roberts' lawyer says her whistleblower lawsuit prefaces many more lawsuits by the owners of the deceased dogs.

"Brittany was trying to speak up on the inside and was being ignored, so hopefully this lawsuit is a way to speak up on the outside and get change," says her attorney, Jennifer Grieco.

No one at the animal shelter would answer the door or comment for us.

Also hiding from our cameras was director Harry Ward. He's accused by Roberts and pet owners of purposely letting the animals die in order to pull in more funding by taxpayers.

FOX 2 uncovered in a document Ward's admission of not having accurate records saying, "We continue to have problems with our data system and the programs used to pull reports and data."

Roberts says the money pulled in by animal control is not all going to the care of the animals, as it should.

"They don't care. Every other place I've been at cared," she says.

One other thing to note about the Detroit Animal Shelter is that it rarely does public adoptions, unlike other shelters across the state and country.

We're told a growing number of pet owners are working on filing a lawsuit against the Detroit Animal Shelter. You can get more information their Facebook page, Citizens for Change for Detroit Dogs and Cats.

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