Detroit Animal Control responds to animal abuse allegations

The Detroit Animal Control is facing lawsuits by a former employee and ten dog owners who say, the dogs are neglected and mistreated. After FOX 2 broke the story over the weekend, city officials are responding to the allegations and showing us the inside of the DAC.

Warning: Some of the images in this story are graphic and may be offensive.

FOX 2 told the story Sunday of the woman who said she was fired from the DAC for blowing the whistle on what she called a "dog slaughterhouse". Initially, city officials asked us to leave but now, one day later, they let us see inside the facility.

VIDEOS: There are two video reports in the player above. To watch the second, wait until the first one ends.

DAC director Harry Ward responded to the allegations by Brittany Roberts. She claims she was fired for documenting pictures of dogs she says were left to die in deplorable conditions. Ward said on Monday that every canine is important to them.

"The lives of each of these dogs is important to us," Ward said. "We have a very difficult mission, the dogs are coming in off the street - we don't select to is coming in. They're all suffering from the life they lead up to this point."

Ward let us inside to see a portion of the facility. He said it's tough to find room for all the dogs needing care, and they do their best to quarantine disease. However, he admits there are sometimes rats and cockroaches and the DAC has received the lawsuit information.

"We're reviewing the lawsuit. There are stories behind each and every dog, unfortunately I can't comment on the things that are in the lawsuit," Ward said.

But so far, nine dog owners are in the process of also filing lawsuits against the DAC and more cases could follow. Many of the owners say the dogs were taken from their property for not having licenses. After that, they were charged a daily fee until they could produce all up-to-date paperwork.

Attorney Tamara French said this should serve as a warning for all dog owners in Detroit.

"You really gotta hold your animals close to you because they are really at risk at coming into the hands of Detroit animal control. And we know if dogs who have gotten sick from being there for one day - and it's not just kennel cough, it's kidney failure," French said.

One of French's clients says her two dogs were licensed but still taken by the DAC. While working on getting proof on paper, her dog, Brick, died. The other is home, but sick.

"Why didn't you all call me and tell me my dog was sick. " the dog owner said

Another owner says he was visiting from South Carolina and faced trouble when he couldn't produce a Michigan license. His attorney, Celeste Dunn, said this is a familiar situation for many Detroit dog owners.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Savage, my client is finding himself in the situation and same predicament as many city of Detroit residents," Dunn said.

Savage is still working on getting his dogs back, while he says he's being charged daily.

"I have a dog owner here, who has beautiful healthy dogs, and they're being compensated because allegedly he doesn't have a dog license," Celeste said.

That brings us back to Harry Ward. He also has a dog being held in the shelter. His 6-year-old Mastiff, Peaches, lives in the shelter, but he's not paying the daily fees.

"It makes you want to do a better job with everybody's dog, when you know that your dog is here too." Ward said

Peaches will not be adopted out to a home, and will continue living in her cage. All the while, her food, room, and board is all being paid for by taxpayers.

Dog owners and the employee say there are multiple different issues they want looked into, including abuse of animals, power, and misuse of taxpayer dollars.

CLICK HERE for our original story.

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