Saving Pit Bulls From the Mean Streets of Detroit

Meet Detroit Pit Crew: A non-profit Pit Bull rescue service

By Nicole Simone

Detroit Pit Crew - Get Leashed Mag

We recently had a chance to catch up with the Detroit Pit Crew. Run by a very dedicated group of volunteers, they help Pit Bulls (and other dogs) out of dangerous or desperate situations. With high rates of dog fighting, animal neglect and animal cruelty in Detroit, there is a never-ending flood of dogs that need serious help.

In 2015 alone, the team helped 430 dogs and has advocated to overturn the current Detroit Animal Control centre. The dogs of Detroit owe a great deal of thanks to DPC, but this crew aren’t satisfied — they are hoping to help more animals every year. They work alongside community members and law enforcement to make a positive change for Pit Bulls and other animals in the community. Their Facebook page is an ongoing blog documenting the good and the ugly that dogs have to deal with, from puppy rescues to grim photos of injured animals. It’s captivating if difficult stuff for any animal lover to see.

We spoke with Theresa of DPC and asked her about the work her team does.

How did Detroit Pit Crew start?

DPC got started at the end of 2013 after I went out into Detroit with a Detroit Police Department officer and saw all the strays that had once been owned, but now are abandoned and destitute.

How many dogs do you rescue a year? How many volunteers does your rescue have?

This year we have rescued 430 dogs from the streets and we have 6 crew members. We also have some officers that assist us with our cruelty investigations and a few transport drivers.

DPC Volunteers - Get Leashed Mag

What are some specific issues that Pit Bulls face in Detroit?

Death by torture. These poor dogs face being used for bait, beaten, starved, shot, hit by cars or mauled by other dogs. There is no reason for these poor dogs to be left out to die a horrible death.

How has the community welcomed you?

We love the community of Detroit. The only group that hates our work in the city are the dog fighters.

Tell us about the issue with Detroit Animal Control?

Detroit Animal Control is a disgraceful organization that is an embarrassment to the city. The facility is full of disease, the animals brought in injured are not cared for immediately and the staff itself are not animal-friendly. Their “cash only” policy remains even though they were provided with a credit card machine by the city.

Rescued Pit Bulls - Get Leashed Mag

How bad is dog fighting?

Dog Fighting is terrible for the animals and terrible for the community. In a city like Detroit that is very large and has so many abandoned or vacant houses and buildings, it’s a breeding ground for dog fighters. With dog fighting comes many other crimes.

Why are there so many abandoned Pit Bulls?

Sadly these dogs are not being spayed or neutered by their owners and once discarded they mate and perpetuate the problem. We believe that mandatory spay and neuter law should be implemented in the city of Detroit to help alleviate the issue of overpopulation and more strays.

Do you work with law enforcement on some of these issues?Pit Bull rescue - Get Leashed Mag

Yes we do. We are thankful for the police officers that help us investigate cruelty cases!

What is the biggest problem your rescue faces?

The biggest problem is probably when we run low on funds. We spend lots of money vetting all these dogs and do not receive adoption fees, so we rely on donations to care for the dogs we rescue. Space is always an issue too. Since we are not a regular intake rescue, we are primarily a street crew and most of our dogs stay in boarding until they are transferred out. So when the boarding at our vet’s offices are full, we are unable to take more dogs in until there is more room.

What is one of your most memorable rescue stories?

I would say one of the most memorable rescue stories we’ve encountered was Precious. She was used as a bait dog for fights, was beaten and dumped in a trash can. We got a call to help and we pulled her from the trash can. She’s now fully recovered and lives with a really great family.

For more information about Detroit Pit Crew, please visit them on Facebook and their website.