Detroit Dog Rescue teams up with animal control to save dogs from freezing to death

Posted at 6:46 PM, Dec 27, 2017

It's during these bitter cold temperatures that members of Detroit Dog Rescue (DDR) find some of the most heartbreaking cases of neglect and cruelty. Dogs found shaking, suffering in the cold from hypothermia. Some dogs already frozen to death.

Just like people, extended exposure to cold temperatures can result in frostbite and potentially deadly hypothermia in dogs and cats.

"It's heartbreaking," said DDR Executive Director Kristina Rinaldi who, along with members of her team, came upon more than one dog that had already died.

At a house on the city's east side, Rinaldi called on Detroit Animal Care and Control Officers Melanie Thomas and Ryan Haire for assistance where two dogs were found chained up to trees in the backyard. 

Animal control has the authority to seize dogs on private property if the animal is in a life-threatening situation.

Each dog had a dog house, but it wasn't properly prepared with straw and they did not have food or water. 

After not being able to contact anyone in the house to bring the dogs inside, officers Thomas and Haire used bolt cutters to free the dogs from the chains and padlocks around their necks being used to restrain them. 

The dogs were transported to Detroit Animal Care and Control where they will be held during an investigation.

It is against the law in the city of Detroit to tether a dog for more than three hours a day, but even that can be too long in these freezing temperatures.

Animal rescuers are strongly urging dog owners to bring their pets inside, even if that means allowing the dog to stay in a basement or crated.

Animal control can demand that you bring a pet inside if they determine that the animal's life is in jeopardy. 

Rinaldi was able to convince one couple to surrender a sick underweight puppy that was chained up outside, living on wet bedding inside a dog house with no straw for insulation.

You should never used pillows, blankets or towels in a dog house because they will get wet and freeze.

Animal control officers told the couple that they had to bring an older dog they were also keeping outside on wet bedding inside the house.

Detroit Dog Rescue left that dog with food, a collar, a new dog house and straw for only be brief periods that the dog is outside during the bitter cold temperatures.

The non-profit rescue is open to assisting people with straw if they refuse to bring their pet inside.

For assistance with crates, dog owners can fill out an outreach application at or call 313-458-8014 if that is the only way they are willing to bring their pet inside the house.