Metro Detroit animal rescue at center of firestorm that stretches to Louisiana

Posted at 6:31 PM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 18:31:45-04

"Being a non-profit, we depend on donations and what this has done to us is just annihilate us," said Pit Stop For Change Rescue's co-founder David McMurtrie about a firestorm that now surrounds his work with dogs. 

And many animal advocates from Michigan to Louisiana say McMurtrie and his girlfriend, Kayli Donaldson, who operates Pit Stop with him, are in over their heads and the dogs in their care are suffering. 

""What was left in that building was madness," said Tia Torres of the Villalobos Rescue in Louisiana where McMurtrie and Donaldson were for almost two years. 

Torres says problems started when the couple began taking in too many dogs, turning their rescue into what seemed like a hoarding situation. 

After the couple left Louisiana with 70 dogs and headed back to Michigan, Torres says she and her team were finally able to enter the warehouse they'd been in and she says the conditions the dogs were living in were horrific. 

The following was included in a post that Torres wrote on the Facebook page for the Villalobos Rescue Center: 

Making a long story much shorter, they were doing well for quite awhile and then...we began to notice on their FB that they were starting to take in more dogs than we felt comfortable not only financially supporting but also more than they could take care of. We tried to mentor them and they appeared to "understand". But we were wrong...horribly wrong. The more we tried to assert any type of authority, the more we were shut out. We then told them that we were coming to the building to pick up some of our dogs that were housed response. Nothing. Completely ignored.

All communication from Pit Stop for Change, Rescue & Rehabilitation stopped and they literally locked themselves up in that warehouse.

McMurtrie and Donaldson believe Torres is upset with them about a proposed medical marijuana venture that never panned out.

Torres says that was never the issue and the problems only stemmed from the welfare of the dogs.

McMurtrie is facing possible misdemeanor animal cruelty charges for 17 dogs that were recently found alone in a hot moving truck in Ecorse.

McMurtrie blames the issue on a volunteer who failed to follow through on placing the dogs in foster homes. 

Click on the video to watch Kimberly Craig's report.