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Detroit investing in animal care and control months after 9-year-old killed by dogs

beware of dog sign on white picket fence
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Detroit city officials announced investments to improve community safety and animal care in the city. This comes months after 9-year-old Emma Hernandez was mauled to death by three dogs.

The dogs' owner was charged with murder back in August and the dogs were euthanized, but that wasn’t the first time a kid was killed by dogs in the city. In 2015, four pit bulls killed 4-year-old Xavier Strickland, pulling him away from his mother and dragging him under a fence.

After months of public outrage, the city announced $3 million to expand and renovate the city’s animal shelter, the Detroit Animal Care and Control facility.

The city has also announced changes to the structure of care and control.

Before, animal control and care were both handled by the city’s Health Department, but now the responsibilities have been split.

Animal care, adoptions, licensing, and vaccinations are still under the Health Department. The General Services Department will handle the control side. That includes tagging stray animals, ticketing negligent owners, and taking in reports of animal abuse.

Residents can now use the 313-922-DOGS hotline to ask questions and report stray dogs.

More improvements include hiring seven Animal Control Investigators – one for each city council district to respond to citizen complaints and provide educational awareness. They are expected to be hired by the start of the new year.

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Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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