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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. 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: http://www.house.mi.gov/mhrpublic/
- 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.
Breed Specific Legislation
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.
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 FAMD 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 rationale 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.
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, $30 spay/neuter program is available for pit bull/pit-mix dogs. Please contact the shelter for details.
Pending Michigan Animal Legislation
HB4898: Large Scale Dog Breeder Act
- Enacts licensing and standards of care for dog breeders with more than 15 female, intact breeding dogs
- Will help stop inhumane puppy mills from establishing themselves in Michigan.
- May have prevented recent large-scale puppy mill cruelty cases, including more than 350 seized from neglect in Allegan County in 2013, more than 90 dogs seized from neglect in Livingston County in 2014, and more than 50 dogs and puppies seized from neglect in Oscoda County in 2016.
- Status: Passed the House of Representatives on March 2, 2016 by a vote of 83 to 20, and now awaits a hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee.
- Find your Legislator here.
SB 403: “Grant’s bill” to end the use of gas chambers in animal shelters
- Requires the use of the more humane and economical method of euthanasia by injection in animal shelters.
- Although there are currently no operating gas chambers in Michigan, a state law is still required to ensure that no shelters begin using gas again.
- Complies with the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association’s position on euthanasia, which states: “The use of carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide gas for euthanasia of shelter dogs and cats is not acceptable.
- Status: Awaits a first hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee.
SB 28/SB 29: To increase penalties for domestic violence-related animal cruelty and cruelty to large numbers of animals:
- Adds penalties for domestic violence involving animal cruelty.
- Increases penalties for large numbers of animals and deliberate cruelty to companion animals.
- Extends current animal cruelty and neglect prohibitions to dog breeders and pet shop operators.
- Status: Awaits a final vote on the Senate floor before moving to the House.
What can you do?
- Find your Michigan Representatives and Senators by using this handy search tool from ASPCA: Find Elected Official
- Email or Call your State legislators, introduce yourself as a constituent, and ask them to support these and other humane bills.
- Learn more about advocating for humane legislation www.humanesociety.org/action/toolkit/