WATERFORD TOWNSHIP (WWJ) – Diggy the dog has been given three days to vacate his brand new Metro Detroit home.
A Waterford Township dog owner says local officials are threatening to take away his newly adopted dog, all because the dog’s breed was misidentified in a photo that swept the internet by storm.
“Sir Wiggleton” sat in a shelter for almost 100 days waiting for someone, anyone to make him a part of their family. On Monday, his dreams came true when local musician Dan Tillery made it official and adopted the dog, now named Diggy.
When the two met, they instantly became best friends. Staff at Detroit Dog Rescue knew this was a match made in heaven, so they snapped a photo of the grinning best friends and posted it to Facebook, saying: “We know this photo is going to break the internet and we apologize, but we had to share.”
And were they ever right. The photo quickly went viral, spreading across the internet and reaching a national television audience.
But it also drew the eyes of officials in Waterford Township. The township has an ordinance banning pit bull breed dogs and when officials saw the photo, they apparently assumed Diggy was a pit bull.
On Thursday afternoon, just days after Diggy moved in, police showed up on Tillery’s doorstep and asked to see the dog. Police told WWJ they received several complaints of a pit bull being housed at the home, which violates a city ordinance.
“They asked if he’s a friendly dog, I said he’s the friendliest dog,” Tillery told WWJ’s Jon Hewett. “When they went to the gate the actually see him, he licked their face, was very kind. They said, we’re dog lovers, that’s cool, he seems like a good boy. Took some pictures of him.”
Tillery said he got a call about an hour later and was told, based on their visual inspection alone, the officers concluded Diggy was a pit bull.
“He said, you know, we don’t really need much more than I think he’s a pit, and that’s enough, so, he looks like a pit, I think he’s a pit, he’s got to go. You have three days to have him out of your home,” Tillery said.
The deadline is Monday.
The dog rescue is standing behind Tillery, who registered and obtained a proper license for Diggy shortly after he was adopted. The rescue and Tillery say Diggy is an American Bulldog, not a pit bull, and they have supporting adoption papers from the City of Detroit Animal Control and Welfare and their veterinarian who all confirm the dog’s breed.
In a statement, police said Tillery indicated he had another place to take the dog and that he would comply with the ordinance by Monday.
Violation of the township’s ordinance, which prohibits any person from owning, possessing or maintaining a pit bull/pit bull terrier, can result in a civil infraction and a fine of $500.