Detroit Euthanizes Pit Bull ‘Ace’ Despite Court Ruling

DETROIT (WWJ) – The city of Detroit could be facing legal action from animal activists, who’ve spent the past week lobbying to save the life of a stray pit bull mix that was found starving to death.   In the end — “Ace” was euthanized — despite a stay from the courts.

City officials and Detroit Animal Control did not receive the injunction filed this week by a Wayne County Circuit Court judge, according to a written statement from Bruce King, general manager of Environmental Health Services for Detroit’s health department.

But, Dan Carlisle (also known as “Hush”), who runs the Detroit Dog Rescue, said he personally served the injunction. Hush said he plans to sue the City of Detroit for contempt of court.

The dog, known as Ace, was found Nov. 4 in the lobby of an ACE Hardware store in Detroit. He was euthanized after a four-day holding period expired.

Over 16,000 people joined a Save Ace Facebook Group that advocated for his release. Mike Pugsley, who owns the ACE store, is among them.

‎”Dear Ace, you came into my lobby, crouched behind my door and stared blankly at the wall, shaking. I could see your pain – I fed you, warmed you and you rewarded me by finally looking into my eyes, and for a moment, we shared your pain. I reached for the phone, thinking that I could find you a better life… Instead I sent you to your death. Please forgive me. You did not die in vain, nor will you be forgotten. This I promise you. Your last but far from only friend,” Pugsley wrote.

Pugsley talked to WWJ City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas about his meeting with leaders of the Detroit Dog Rescue.

“I met Hush the other day, a wonderful man. He’s got a fire in his eyes and passion and his voice. He’s a man that will see that some action comes out of this,” Pugsley said.

Detroit Animal Control does not adopt out or release pit bulls or pit bull mixes unless it’s back to the dogs’ original owners. The owner must establish proof of ownership, such as a dog license or veterinary records.

After news of Ace’s plight surfaced, Detroit Animal Control said they were inundated with calls from around the country from people who wanted to keep Ace alive.

“This situation regarding the dog retrieved from the Ace Hardware store has now started to impact the safety of the residents of the city of Detroit. Urgent calls for help from elderly citizens, school principals, postal supervisors and the police are going unanswered because our Detroit Animal Control dispatch line is overwhelmed with calls from outside of the city, state and even the country,” the statement said.

Detroit City Councilman Ken Cockrel said his office was also flooded with calls and emails from pet lovers and advocates across the globe.

“I’d say over the course of the past three days, I’ve probably gotten 2,000 plus emails and counting on this issue. And look, I understand, I mean because I’m a pet lover… but if we could turn that level of energy and attention to the care and feeding of human beings, we’d really change the world for the better,” said Cockrel.

A number of people claimed ownership of the dog but “failed to provide adequate proof, including identifying the dog in the kennel, or having the dog recognize or respond to the individuals’ calls,” according to the statement.

But, Nitta Moses from Detroit told WWJ she provided paperwork documenting ownership and said the dog was stolen from her home over the Summer.

David Rudolph, with the Detroit Animal Rescue Shelter, helped lead the effort to keep Ace alive.

“We were absolutely just shocked and caught off guard because we thought that efforts to at least be able to save Ace was well on its way,” said Rudolph.

“We are not insensitive to the overwhelming appeal from citizens for an alternative approach. We are, indeed, heartened by these appeals. However, if we grant this one exception, we are simply not set up for what will undoubtedly lead to overwhelming appeals in similar cases,” the statement said.

Pugsley said Ace may be gone, but this is not the end of it.

“I am extremely disappointed … the mayor, I would have thought he would have stepped in. But … I don’t think he will have died in vain.  A number of organizations trying to make this right and make something better come out of it,” he said.

More from Vickie Thomas
  • Cherie

    Detroit Animal Control should be euthanized. You are murderers! Is that what you would do to a homeless person at a shelter? This dog did not become violent and you killed it. I am an animal lover and my heart breaks knowing what you did. I hope the judge gives you the max. And to Mark who fed Ace, please don’t blame yourself. You showed this animal love and that is what he needed. You thought you were helping by getting him off streets and giving him warmth and food. You had no idea this would happen. My thoughts are with you. Ace knew you were helping him.

    • jana frost

      SOOOO SOOO SAD..This will be a precedent case…

    • Carol Kramb

      I found my rescue here in Monroe and they had her for 11 days and waited for the owner to show up they did not and I adopted her now for 2 years she is a Gem. I would be ashamed to work for that shelter in Detroit they have no heart. So please people spay and neuter your animals so they do not become another stray. So much for a good shelter. Monroe Animal Shelter is the Tops in my book.

    • Ray

      Dogs are not people. You are a not rational person if you are really comparing a homeless person to a dog. Not to mention a dog breed that has (regardless of how much people hate to admit it) a history of violence. This law is in place for a reason, and as much as you hate it, the law did what was needed here. Setting precedence for releasing pits that come into a shelter to anyone other than the proven owner, its keeps people safe. I love dogs, own dogs, and would have taken this animal if I could…but if I felt there was any chance that this dog could hurt a human in any way I would kill it myself. Your heart is not what you should be thinking with, but your head. That is the meaning of being an adult.

      • Mike

        If you were actually literate and payed attention to the headline of this article you would’ve seen that it was euthanized DESPITE the court’s ruling. Obviously enough evidence was provided that proved “Ace” was not a threat at the time and would not become one, ending up in a court ruling that it should be given a chance. The “law” and it’s necessity are not being questioned. The matter at hand is a violation of a court ruling. I’d rather be irrational than illiterate.

  • Sheila

    You should have euthanized Monica Conyers, Carilita Kilpatrick, Kwame Kilpatrick and his hood rats. Instead you put an innocent dog down. He didn’t hurt anybody. Just because he is an animal and cannot talk, does not mean he don’t understand. I hope you hurt everytime you hear a dog bark. I hope justice prevails here for once.

  • Carol Kramb

    I do not own or wish to own a pit bull but if I found one that was down and our, been mistreated and starved I don’t think i would kill it… A few years ago the Detroit Animal Shelter if you all remember this had a woman work there that fed live puppies to a python they fired her and brought her back to work there. SO DOES THIS TELL YOU ANYTHING ABOUT THE SHELTER.. So if you see a abused, starving, neglected animal just kill it it is what people do best. Shame on you Detroit for killing this dog. You make me sick to think you are called a shelter. No heart at all..

    • Sandie Colchester-Stone

      You dont THINK!!!!! you would kill it!!

  • Mark Matis

    Don’t expect “Law Enforcement” or the “Legal System” to do anything about this. The stench is overwhelming.

  • Lyzz Paredes

    I applaud you Mark for trying to do the right thing for ACE! Bright Blessings to you and all you do!! ~^..^~

  • Theleca Wilson

    Detroit “leaders” and I use that word loosely !!!! You are pathetic as human beings…I am ashamed you are even part of the United States. Mark thank you for what you tried to do with Ace and that is to bring him a better life.

  • Sandie Colchester-Stone

    Another poor creature that us so called humans have allowed to die and suffer, and for what reason can anyone tell me I would really like to know. Look at that beautiful face… why destroy it……

  • betsy simek

    Typical political remark about “putting this much effort into feeding humans”. Newsflash – there are organizations who to that every day. Look up the meaning of the word “shelter”. In no way, shape or form does DAC fit the definition. It’s run, and overseen by a group of power mongers, who seem to get some sort of perverse pleasure from euthanizing animals. Why else would someone come in on a “furlough day” to perform this horrid task?

    They didn’t know about the court order? Do they all live under rocks with no access to FB, or the media? Even if they didn’t physically have it in hand, (which we now know they did), they still were aware of what was going on, and could have made a simple phone call to verify information that was out there. They should all be fired, and replaced with people capable of running that shelter the way it should be, for the sake of the animals.

  • Alana

    Hey, Detroit, you want this much attention for your homeless and hungry? Better start euthanizing the homeless, I guarantee you will have an uproar! Oh, wait, that would be inhumane right? Jerks.

  • jana frost

    Going to be a HUGE uproar…

  • Sandra Getman

    this is absolutely outrageous ,how can you get this so wrong ,this is a living life you have just murdered ,do you not check with the courts before you pts.this is a criminal injustice and you should be sued for it ….it seems to me that you have no respect for a living soul .,how could you do this can you live with yourself . your inhumane

  • B Goodrich

    City of Detroit, you should be ashamed. There were groups willing to take this poor dog, nurse it back to health and assume any liability. Instead, you sent this poor innocent dog to its death.

  • Willie

    I think some of you need to tone it down a bit. As a lifelong resident of Detroit, this city has too many other more pressing issues than that dog. Seriously, the mayor should have step in? If that dog would have bitten someone we would not be having this conversation. Dogs and cats are not humans. Fact.

  • kristen

    How sad this truly is ??? Stolen from his owner…suffered and starved on the street…wandered onto a loving person who indeed saved him but trusted our “humane society” to help-HA! They are the LEAST humane organization in Michigan (I did community service there…I know first hand what goes on there)I would NEVER send an animal there for shelter…it WILL be murdered if you do. And “WILLIE”…whoever you are…u r an ignorant FOOL…Detroit should Be very ashamed…nobody should tone anything down…this was a great injustice and someone should be punished and we as citizens have every right to speak out against such a cold, evil and heartless action! Shame on YOU ! Maybe now something can happen to change the corrupt system in that “shelter” or should I say “euthenization mill”! ~ RIP Ace….poor boy :(

  • Brooke

    DAC didn’t follow the policy they have been hiding behind from the beginning AND they flat out lied! Harry Ward – I hope your job is just as expendable as this dogs life. Detroit – your move…the eyes of the world are watching.

  • Sherry Peck

    DAC is currently threatening rescues in Detroit with removing and destroying any animals above the legal limit of 4. They are acting like a bunch of thugs. I hope that people keep the pressure on the elected officials and show DAC what 16,000 strong can accomplish. Any employee involved in mistreatment of any animal or who supports the current policies of neglect at DAC need to be fired now!

  • Sue

    Probably the reason Detroit is in the shape that it is in is because of the way they treat animals. It’s a fact that if you abuse animals you’ll be abusive to people. Corrupt officials = abuse of power. Poor Ace he was probably killed within hours of arriving at DAC.

  • City Officials, Activists Review Stray Dog Policy « CBS Detroit

    […] and animal rights activists focused on policies on dealing with stray dogs. This comes after ACE, a stray pit bull, was euthanized despite appeals from rescue groups offering to take the […]

  • Amy Wood

    I believe the paperwork to save this precious llittle animal was ignored on purpose.

    Detroit City Council person who stated something to the effect that all of the public’s inquiries into how to save little ACE were regarded as a ‘nuisance” preventing ‘important’ animal control phone calls from getting through;

    and alos stated that people needed to give this much attention to helping humans as they give to helping this helpless little animal is, I believe about as Ignorant as it gets ~ and those in charge of Detroit can get pretty Ignorant!

    Viscious violent people are the only reason it was ever necessary for all of these kind Detroiters and others, to come to the rescue of this little helpless one in the 1srt place!

    ~ horrid people who abuse animals and horrid people who ignore animals instead of helping both animals AND people.

  • T

    Shame on you Detroit Animal Control – so many people wanted to have Ace…..what is a matter with you people? Where is our compassion?

  • Sherry Peck

    I believe that any person who cannot show a starving frightened dog a little compassion does not belong in animal control. Bruce King, Loretta Davis and Harry Ward showed no compassion for Ace. They do not belong in positions that allow them to work with animals. If politics in Detroit do not allow for their termination, then transfer them out of animal control. They have proven beyond a doubt they do not possess the qualifications for their jobs. I will never understand how they could kill Ace, when his little face was just begging for kindness and compassion.

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