DETROIT (WXYZ) — The head of Detroit Dog Rescue says a number of dogs and cats are suffering inside the city's animal control and offers to help prevent illness are being ignored.
"I want to, please, put out there that it's not the employees' fault," Kristina Rinaldi said, pointing the blame at the building that houses Detroit Animal Care and Control.
The city's animal control operation moved into the building five years ago, but it's "dilapidated, unsafe, and unsanitary," according to Rinaldi who recently posted videos to her Facebook page, showing animals that had been released from the city's shelter, struggling to breathe.
"This is what I call a sick building," she said. "I'm sad and I'm disappointed. The ceiling tiles are porous. From what I saw last, the kennels are full of rust. If you look at the kennel cages, the whole front of them are full of rust. So where are the dogs? Usually at the front of their kennel, barking and breathing. They're breathing in that respiratory infection through that rust."
The city's chief operating officer said they are dealing with kennel cough.
"To my understanding, we have just a mild case of kennel cough but nothing alarming," said Hakim Berry. "We are treating all animals as they come in and as they're released, and there's been no major issues."
Rinaldi says it's much more serious than kennel cough and that it's pneumonia.
Rinaldi said she's frustrated because she believes the city could have been and should have been more proactive in relocating to a new or newer building where better safety measures can be implemented.
Berry said they were going to expand into the parking lot and improve the current building, but that COVID caused a delay. During that delay, Berry said they have instead decided to move to a different building and they will soon issue a request for proposals for the newer structure.