Protesters sit-in at Detroit Animal Control, demand change

- After weeks of relentless protests over the treatment of dogs at the Detroit Animal Control, officials are finally promising change.

For weeks, activists had been waiting for people to drop off animals with a warning: stay away. Kathy Garza with Southwest Animal Group said tension has been building for weeks and it finally reached a breaking point.

"Our mayor has promised us and his campaign transparency in the city of Detroit. Why is there no transparency at Detroit Animal Control?" Garza said.

For months, Detroit Animal Control Center has been accused of mistreating animals, forcing them to live in deplorable conditions, while director Harry Ward, misused tax payer dollars. It came to a head earlier this fall when pictures were leaked by a fired worker that showed inside the DAC. The city has since begun adopting out some dogs, but many more are dying and unaccounted for.

"We're really hoping that the mayor will take notice of this and the complaints and really make some changes sooner rather than later because every day dogs are dying and suffering inside this facility," attorney Tamara French said.

Citizens offering to help the DAC have been turned away and on Tuesday, they demanded to see what's really going on behind the locked red doors. A handful of protesters tried to force their way through the doors and the police were called.

After a short sit in, Health Department Director Dr. Abdul El-Sayed arrived at the scene. He refused to say if Ward would be released from his position as director. However, the city promised changes will be made by January 1 to leadership, the facility, and procedures.

"In the coming year the face of animal control will look very different than it has in the past," Dr. Abdul El-Sayed said.

After the promise was made, protesters had a feeling of hope and believed changes may finally happen.

"We're finally making some movement. Hopefully we'll see some changes. As promised," activist Tracey Hill said.

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