There is no turning back now – it is a new day for the animals of the city of Detroit and that is cause for celebration.

For 138 years, the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) has been the primary animal welfare organization in Detroit – often providing the critical care for animals when our beloved city did not have the resources or dedicated expertise to do so. MHS has been fully committed to animal welfare in the city of Detroit ever since and while much has changed in this time; there has not been a more exciting era for the animals of our city than today.

MHS is committed to doing whatever it takes to see this city be the most humane, compassionate city it can be. As animal welfare evolves, we are excited to evolve with it and play a part, among you all, in celebrating and caring for our city’s animals.

MHS’ animal care resources and programs within Detroit are significant – and our commitment has not, and will not, waver. Today, our animal cruelty investigation and emergency rescue services respond to approximately 10,000 cases or complaints each year. And, as a state-licensed animal shelter, MHS cares for 5,000-6,000 of Detroit’s stray animals. These are stray animals, from the streets of Detroit, who never enter Detroit Animal Control but are rather routed directly through our care system. MHS does this on behalf of Detroit due to the city’s financial and facility challenges. These animals represent approximately 25% of the animals we care for throughout the year. In addition, we find loving homes for animals deemed adoptable as indicated and directed by Detroit Animal Control (DAC). In 2014, MHS adopted out 1,795 of these animals through our Detroit facility alone. This is all critical work on behalf of Detroit’s animals and its citizens, yet the need is greater than the work of any one group. It is the collective work of many that will ensure a new Detroit, one that MHS truly believes will be the model for other communities nationwide in the years to come.


So why are we so optimistic about the future of animals in Detroit? Here are just a few examples:

  • City Leadership
    Mayor Duggan and the leadership of other city officials have clearly demonstrated a commitment to animal welfare. Furthermore, the downtown revitalization and business development activities have the city a buzz- bringing jobs, citizens, and energy to the city for which companion animals will play a very significant role. Under Mayor Duggan’s leadership and our collective passion for animal welfare, there is no reason that Detroit cannot be a shining example of what is possible.
  • Current Dialogue
    Obviously, there has been much discussion and media attention of late relative to animal welfare in Detroit, much of it focused on Detroit Animal Control. It is no secret that there needs to be significant change within DAC. Everyone is aware of that and supports these efforts. The recent dialogue has certainly elevated the awareness and is providing a platform and opportunity for constructive and sustainable change. We look forward to the opportunity to continue to partner with other animal welfare and community organizations to drive and be a part of this change.
  • The Paws in the D Coalition
    We are very proud to be a part of this collaborative group of animal welfare organizations whose efforts and expertise are targeted at the needs of animals within Detroit. These organizations work to utilize the limited resources of each group in a collective way to maximize the reach and benefit for the city’s animals.
  • The New Detroit Animal Care Campus
    By spring of next year, the animals and citizens of Detroit will benefit from the new MHS Detroit Animal Care Campus. The new facility will provide advanced care opportunities, protocols and an animal enrichment environment to include longer-term animal rehabilitation and an expanded veterinary care clinic. It will also provide a venue and a platform for collaboration among various animal welfare organizations.
  • Understanding of animal issues and transparency
    Having our communities understanding the outcomes, challenges and other critical dynamics associated with our companion animals is critical to their health and well-being as well as that of our communities. That is why starting with our 2013 animal care statistics, we required our partner cities, for whom MHS cares for their stray animals on their behalf, have the critical animal-related statistics reported as each city to the Department of Agriculture. This includes the cities of Detroit, Hamtramck, Livonia, Redford and Westland. You can learn more about this initiative on our website. This critical shift has enabled these cities, and members of their community, to have a better understanding of the animal needs and challenges within their borders. MHS is extremely proud to be able to offer our expert care for the stray animals of these cities, yet we realize the importance of empowering each community to review and understand the animal issues within their respective areas in order for them to plan and act in the most compassionate and animal friendly way. You can find MHS’ fully aggregated monthly animal care reports, inclusive of all the dogs and cats we care for, on our website.

We are very proud to be a significant part of the work on behalf of the animals of Detroit and look forward to broadening the efforts required to make this a healthy pet community and we are grateful for the support of many who make this work possible – here is to a new Detroit for the animals!