Max  (dog looking contemplative)

Fighting Animal Cruelty

If you know or suspect that an animal is the victim of abuse please report it NOW!

You’ve all seen the “sensational” cruelty cases on the news, but incidents of animal cruelty take place more often than you would think and they happen in our own neighborhoods. At the shelter, we regularly see the sad results—of both emotional cruelty and physical cruelty.

Three Things YOU Can Do to Fight Cruelty

1. Learn to recognize animal cruelty.

Without concerned citizens who report cruelty in their neighborhoods, we wouldn’t know about most instances of animal abuse—that’s why it’s so important to keep your eyes and ears open. Here are some signs and symptoms of animal cruelty:

  • Tick or flea infestations. Such a condition, if left untreated by a veterinarian, can lead to an animal’s death.
  • Wounds on the body.
  • Patches of missing hair.
  • Extremely thin, starving animals.
  • Limping or having difficulty standing or moving.
  • An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal.
  • Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, often chained up in a yard.
  • Dogs or cats who have been hit by a car, or are showing any of the signs listed above, and have not been taken to a veterinarian.
  • Dogs or cats who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions.
  • Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners.

Show Your Support

“Animal Guardian Ribbon”Go Orange in April in support of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

“Animal Guardian Ribbon”
Go Orange in April in support of
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

2. Report any suspected animal cruelty.

Contact your local police department or animal shelter.

  • In Dearborn, contact the police department (24×7) at 313-943-2240 or the Friends at 313-943-2697. Remember, you can report cruelty anonymously.
  • When you make a report, provide as much information as possible. The details that you provide can go a long way toward assisting an investigating officer.
  • You may want to write down the type of cruelty that you witnessed, who was involved, the date of the incident, and where it took place. Remember that animal cruelty is a CRIME—and the police MUST investigate these crimes.
  • If the abuse is happening now, please call, but if you prefer, you may email us at

3. Fight animal cruelty through legislation.

Know Michigan’s current pending animal cruelty laws, see Advocacy. These vary from state to state, and even from city to city. You can also visit the ASPCA’s online database of more than 550 animal cruelty laws—and their penalties—in all 50 states. Fight for the passage of strong anti-cruelty laws on federal, state, and local levels. With stronger laws, abusers will be more likely to receive tougher penalties.

YOU Can Change Michigan Cruelty Legislation

Tell your representative that you want him/her to support these bills:

  • If you are in Michigan, you can find your representative’s e-mail address here:
  • See your Michigan representative’s voting record
    As your advocate at the local level, we care for the victims of abuse and work with Dearborn law enforcement to vigorously prosecute abusers. If you are interested in taking a more proactive role in the fight for the passage of strong anti-cruelty laws on federal, state and local levels, one way is to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade. As an ASPCA Advocacy Brigade member, you’ll receive e-mails asking you to write letters encouraging your legislators to pass these laws—and you can send them directly from the ASPCA website.

Ambassadors for Bully Breeds

Ambassadors for Bully Breeds


The following educational materials are available for those wanting to learn more about bully-breeds or are considering adoption.

The Friends are happy to consult with bully-breed guardians who have concerns about or experience issues with their companion dog.


The Friends screen bully breeds for health, temperament, behaviors, and personality prior to offering them for adoption. Additionally, potential adopters are required to meet specific requirements prior to adoption of a bully breed.

See our Luv-a-Bullz online and learn about our adoption and training specials.


The Friends offer training classes to help build and strengthen the bond between a bully breed dog and his human partner.


It is usually a bored and un-exercised dog that gets into trouble. Walking or playing fetch may not be enough for these tenacious dogs. We promote activities such as weight pulling, dock diving, agility, and other individual dog sports. The use of special equipment can also aid your quest for humane and time-saving exercise. Please contact the shelter for details.


A low-cost, $25 spay/neuter program is available for pit bull/pit-mix dogs. Please contact the shelter for details.

Our Position on Breed Specific Legislation

In order to protect residents, many local communities have been quick to jump on the bandwagon of BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). But is this the answer? Communities that have already passed a Pit Bull ban are finding out that it is no panacea. The cost and the manpower involved in banning a specific breed or type of dog has certainly proved to be high with very little effect on public safety.

Statistics are showing that BSL does not reduce the number of bites and injuries to humans. In fact, in some cases, they have increased. In addition, it is very difficult for even the experts to correctly identify Pit Bull dogs, as 25 different breeds are commonly mistaken for Pit Bulls. Most affected by such a ban are the easy-to-find, licensed family dogs owned by responsible people, not the unlicensed dogs of irresponsible owners and criminals. What will work is proactive and effective enforcement of leash, license, and Dangerous Dog laws that address the actions of risky dogs and holds their owners responsible.


Recycl-A-BullzRecycl-A-Bullz is a program founded by the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter which promotes responsible guardianship of “bully-breed” dogs through careful placement of adoptable bully dogs, education, and humane training and exercise methods. We believe that Pit Bulls (and other “bully” breeds) deserve the same chance at a happy home as other dog breeds.

Pit Crew: A bully’s best friend

pit crew at pool

This volunteer program includes the enrichment of the “bully breeds” in the care of the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter. Find out more if you are interested in becoming a part of the Pit Crew.

Friends Affect Dearborn BSL

A proposed ordinance to ban new ownership of bully breeds was introduced by Dearborn City Council in November 2010. After an early December study session, during which FFDAS staff and guests played a primary role, the proposed ordinance was taken off the table.

Instead, current dog-control codes will be overhauled to a two-tier system that will be diligently enforced. A draft of the new ordinance defines a dangerous dog as one that a reasonable person believes poses a “serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to a person or a companion animal,” or a dog that bites without provocation. There is no breed discrimination in the new ordinance.

The Friends organization is grateful for our City leadership’s rational and cost-effective approach to keeping humans and animals safe in our community. Please encourage your neighbors to be responsible pet owners so we are all safe from incidents stemming from dangerous dogs.

Pending Michigan Animal Legislation

Senate Bill 560 has 4 components:

  • For the first time, it requires breeders with more than 15 female breeding dogs to register with the State of Michigan and create humane guidelines, such as requiring breeders to vaccinate their dogs and treat them for parasites.
  • Require that when euthanasia is necessary at a shelter, pet store or large-scale breeding facility, the procedure must be performed in accordance with American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) guidelines.
  • Limit commercial breeders to keeping no more than 50 breeding female dogs.
  • Reduce the hold period in shelters for animals who are not owned to make it easier for shelters to place animals into new homes quickly and serve additional animals in need.
  • Find your Legislator here.

Senate Bill 354 (links to ASPCA summary and action) bans the gas chamber as a method to euthanize animals.

When euthanasia must occur, we recommend euthanasia by injection (EBI) performed by trained professionals, according to AVMA guidelines, in order to make the procedure as peaceful and painless as possible. EBI is far more humane for the animals, is safer for workers, and costs less than using the gas chamber.

Action Needed

The Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter are dedicated to the rescue and protection of homeless animals in the community, while inspiring healthy relationships between people and their companion pets. As part of our mission, we participate in and promote community education regarding companion animals and legislation issues affecting them. The Michigan Legislature is currently considering a number of important companion animal protection bills. The Friends support these bills and encourage the community to consider the same.

Action Needed. Update January 2015 on SB 354:    

SB 354 has passed the Senate by a vote of 37 to 0 and is now awaiting a hearing in the House Committee on Local Government. That committee’s chair, Representative Amanda Price, has indicated that she wants to hear whether this is an important issue to Michigan citizens and whether they want the bill to be heard and passed in her committee. We know that answer to both of those is a resounding YES!!

Take Action today:  Please call the office of Rep. Amanda Price at (517) 373-0838 and politely tell her that you, as a Michigan citizen, care very much about the treatment of our state’s shelter pets, and would like her to schedule a hearing for SB 354, “Grant’s Bill” to end the use of gas chambers in Michigan shelters.

Then, if your Representative is other than Rep. Price, please contact him or her to politely ask for a yes vote on SB 354 when it comes to the House floor. You can look up your state Representative at

Senate Bills 285/286 (links to summary from Senate committee) 

Would increase penalties for deliberate cruelty, including for cases involving large numbers of animals and for breeders and pet stores. The Dearborn Animal Shelter had experience with a large scale hoarding case, that was an ideal example of situations where these bills would have a positive impact. SB 285/286 passed the Senate unanimously in November of 2013, and are now on the House floor awaiting a final vote.

 What can you do?

1.  Find your Representative using this handy search tool from ASPCA:  Find Elected Official

2.  Email or Call your State Representative to ask them to support SB 285/286 when it receives a floor vote.