Detroit's animal control blames dog's death on computer mistake

Posted at 7:06 PM, Oct 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 20:13:55-04

Melissa Jackson is devastated over the loss of her 4-year-old dog, Coco. The dog was euthanized at Detroit Animal Care and Control and it was a mistake.

Jackson had to take Coco to animal control after she got under a fence and bit a neighbor's dog.

Jackson says animal control workers told her that Coco had to spend the remainder of a 10-day quarantine period in animal control. There were only four days left on the quarantine period and Jackson believed Coco would be safe there.

An investigator with animal control even returned one of Jackson's phone calls and said that Coco was cleared to be picked up.

But when Jackson arrived, Coco couldn't be found.

As Jackson waited for someone to come tell her where her dog was, she was told Melissa Miller, the director of Detroit Animal Care and Control, was on the phone and needed to talk to her.

Jackson says Miller told her that her dog was aggressive to other dogs and had to be euthanized the day she dropped her off.

Jackson contacted 7 Action News to find out what could have gone so terribly wrong to cause workers to euthanize her dog without her consent or knowledge.

Miller did not reply to text messages sent Friday morning, but by afternoon, a spokesperson for the Detroit Health Department which oversees animal control released the heartbreaking truth on why Coco was dead.

It was because of a computer error. 

Ms. Jackson's dog was brought to Detroit Animal Care and Control as part of a dog-on-dog bite situation. The owner complied with state law and the dog was held for a 10-day rabies quarantine period.

As a result of a computer status error, a tragic and unacceptable euthanasia was authorized. Our hearts are with Ms. Jackson during this time of loss.

We are thoroughly examining all procedures and systems that led to this and we are committed to putting safeguards in place to prevent this from happening again.

- Detroit Animal Care and Control