Meet Ace. This poor, little, emaciated pit bull type dog was found in the lobby of an Ace hardware store in Detroit last Friday. He was picked up by Detroit Animal Control which operate sunder a Detroit law that says they must hold him for four days unless the owner retrieves him. After that, he will be euthanized because adoption of pit bulls type dogs to non-owners are not allowed in the city.
Ace’s story has spread quickly via the web. A Facebook page was created and has more than 11,200 likes (it had 7,300 last night) . An online petition was also put up.
People from as far as Norway have been contacting the Detroit City Council asking them to spare Ace’s life.
Animal lovers also flooded a Detroit City Council meeting on Tuesday, urging members to intervene on behalf of a stray pit bull scheduled to be euthanized on Friday.
So why all of this outcry for one single, innocent pit bull in a city where there are an estimated 50,000 – 10,000 stray dogs running loose?
For starters, there are animal rescuers ready, willing and able to take Ace and rehabilitate him back to health. These are certified, trained dog lovers who have reached out to take a personal interest in helping Ace. Groups such as Detroit Dog Rescue and K9 Strays have offered to provide Ace with immediate medical care, but state law and city policy are standing in the way of action that may save the dog’s life.
“It is considered a shelter-to-shelter rescue,” said a representative from K9 Strays. “We want to take care of his medical needs. Whatever it needs. This would relieve (the city) of the responsibility. We would take responsibility.”
Secondly, Ace’s compelling story is resurrecting an on-going discussion and debate about breed specific legislation. Ace is either an opportunity or a martyr. Saving his life by modifying Detroit’s breed-specific laws would be a huge opportunity for other cities and municipalities to follow suit.
Breed Specific Legislation such as the one in Detroit punishes the innocent, not the guilty. BSL is not an effective approach for regulating dogs’ behavior in communities. An extensive study from the Michigan State University College of Law reveals the bans carry too much potential for arbitrary or improper enforcement such as inaccurate breed identification by officials, animal control and court system overload, and the potential for not identifying a genuinely “dangerous dog” as such because he doesn’t fall into the specified breed categories. There are also countless studies that show that a dog’s upbringing, training, and environment are far more important predictors in being aggressive than their breed time.
When Ace wandered into the lobby of the hardware store he was not aggressive or dangerous. He was hungry, scared, hurt, and alone.
Right now, things don’t look so good for dear Ace. At a City Council meeting Tuesday, City Council President Charles Pugh took up the cause of Ace and asked that a resolution be drafted that would shield the city from any liability and allow Ace to be adopted. Because of a law, an exception will need to be made.
I grew up in Metro Detroit and this story is near and dear to my heart as a pit bull lover.
If you’re looking for ways you can help Ace, the Saving Ace team is asking people to contact Loretta Davis at the City of Detroit Health Dept (she is the final decision maker) 313.876.4300 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org