Metro Detroit seeing uptick in pet abandonment during pandemic

Posted at 2:28 PM, May 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-25 10:24:54-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — During the shutdown, one organization says they have been working tirelessly to continue to help rescue animals left out on the streets.

Taking greater safety measures, Detroit Pit Crew has still been responding to calls about dogs needing help.

In less than a week, they rescued two dogs thrown from cars.

A dog, now named Willow by the Detroit Rescue Group, was thrown out of a car in Detroit in the pouring rain last week.

“She was terrified. She was shaking, very scared,” said Theresa Sumpter of Detroit Pit Crew.

The pup was found on Gable Street in Detroit near the border of Hamtramck. A Good Samaritan brought Willow on his porch and called Detroit Pit Crew.

“He witnessed somebody pushing Willow out of the car and then driving off,” Sumpter said.

She has been rescuing dogs for years. She says for the past few weeks, they’ve seen an uptick in dogs, who are clearly not strays, found roaming the streets.

With many shelters hard to access during the pandemic, Sumpter believes some people are abandoning their pets.

“We are getting a tremendous high volume of calls of people trying to surrender their dogs to us,” Sumpter said.

Less than 24 hours after the interview about Willow, Sumpter received another call about a dog being thrown from a car. This time on 8 Mile near the Southfield Freeway.

The pup had severe injuries to his leg.

“We are not sure if being thrown out of the vehicle broke his leg or if he was subsequently hit by another car," Sumpter said. "He had some wounds to the top of his head, to one of his front legs and then he received a severe break to one of his rear legs.”

The black lab, now named Quinn, was rushed into surgery and has since been recovering.

“Quinn is lucky to be alive he had to have the surgery to put a plate all the way down that bone where it broke," Sumpter said. "It was very painful surgery took four hours.”

If people are abandoning their pets because of financial stress due to the shutdown Sumpter says rescue groups like Detroit Pit Crew can help.

“If it’s a simple matter of you need a couple of bags of food to make it through to your next check or when you returned to work, we will help with that," Sumpter said. "If it’s a medical issue with your animal, if we can help we will.”

Once Quinn recovers he will be up for adoption.

As for a Willow, she is getting heart worm treatment and will be ready to find a forever home in about six weeks.

“Willow’s future is going to be very bright. It will never end with her being thrown out on the streets in Detroit ever again. I can guarantee you that,” Sumpter said.

Between Willow’s treatment and Quinn’s surgery, both dogs have racked up at least $5,000 in veterinary bills.

If you would like to make a donation or get help caring for you dog, contact the Detroit Pit Crew
by phone at 248-906-9022 or online at

You can also visit the Detroit Pit Crew Facebook page here.