Tuesday, May 20, 2008

River Rouge Animal 'Shelter' : Animals walk in and don't walk out

Here's an article forwarded to me by the people at ReGAP (Retired Greyhounds as Pets). It's about the fact that the so-called animal shelter in River Rouge, Michigan, destroys each and every animal that comes through its doors; there are no volunteers at this shelter, and no effort is made to adopt out the animals.

In fact, the animal control officer for the city, Ernest Bowling, seems to have taken it upon himself to make it a policy to not adopt out any animals. This after being told by the city to not sell animals to research (he had previously been selling all of them, it seems, to a specific licensed "breeder" that in turn would sell them to research).

Why the reactionary response by Mr. Bowling?
Is he angry about not making a buck on the sale to one specific 'breeder'? Is he just an angry and spiteful person in general towards his employers? Does he just not care to put any effort into his work? My own feeling is that the guy should be fired and a new animal control officer hired, and at least make an effort to find homes for the animals; they should not sell to breeders or to research. If breeders are taking in stray stock, then they're obviously not concerned with genetics or characteristics or qualities, just with popping out another pup to sell.

Read the May 18 Detroit Free Press article Animal shelter is criticized. The original story, by Justine DePalma, is printed below the following update.


UPDATE: May 21, 2008

Changes were made by the River Rouge City Council. Click on this link to watch a video at Fox News about the situation and the City Council meeting.

Read the Detroit Free Press article Animal shelter to stop using poisonous gas.

Here's an excerpt from the Freep story:

Officials also said at Tuesday night's meeting that they will consider getting a scanner to read pet identification computer chips and will talk with Dearborn's animal control about creating a volunteer system for the local pound.

Approximately 60 people, many of whom were pound volunteers from other cities, filled the second-floor courtroom in River Rouge City Hall to voice their concerns about the city's high euthanasia rate and the carbon dioxide used to kill strays.

Except for animals that died in their cages, escaped or were stolen, River Rouge has a 100% euthanasia rate, according to the city's file with the Michigan Department of Agriculture.


The Worst Shelter in Michigan
Written by: Justine DePalma
Published May 2, 2008

One Michigan animal "shelter" does not need volunteers. Services such as petfinder to increase adoptions are useless at this shelter. City of River Rouge runs a no frills animal "shelter". The rules are simple, if a stray dog or cat enters the River Rouge shelter, he/she will die at the end of the stray time. There are no reprieves. The sweetest poodles, the most stunning purebred Afghan, the great family mutt all have the same fate when they enter that building, death by
gassing. Animals entering the River Rouge shelter have drawn the worst shelter in the state of Michigan. It is the only shelter that killed every single animal unlucky enough to enter its doors.

Why does River Rouge kills all of the animals that enter its pound?

Ernest Bowling is the animal control officer for River Rouge and he is just following orders. In 2001, Fox2 News reporter, Fanchon Stinger aired an undercover investigation of Hodgins Kennel, a USDA Class B Dealer. River Rouge sold dogs and cats to Hodgins at that
time. Because of the public uproar, the River Rouge City Council commanded that its animal shelter stop selling to research. According to Bowling "the only way I can 100% guarantee that I'm not adopting out an animal to research is to not adopt them at all". It
seems that Bowling takes things literally and he claims Fred Hodgins told him that about 1% of the animals the shelter would adopt to the public would end up in research labs, so Bowling decided the only way to comply was to not adopt any. So for all these years Bowling gassed
every single dog and cat that entered his shelter. Every single one.

Call to Arms

River Rouge's Mayor Michael Balder and its City Council have some explaining to do. However, they will not change a thing unless people stand up for the animals. Humans must be their voices. Quick action is necessary to end this hideous slaughter. This project will take a little effort. River Rouge is still in the dark ages without email or even a web page.

Please visit this link to read a City of River Rouge Animal Shelter 2007 State of Michigan Shelter Report.

Please consider attending tonight's River Rouge City Council Meeting TONIGHT.

Residents and River Rouge city officials will hear from animal activists Tuesday who claim the city's shelter euthanizes animals at an alarming rate and uses poisonous gas to put them down, versus cheaper more humane methods.

Send letters to or call by telephone:

Mayor: Michael D Bowdler

City Council: Patty Campbell, Karen Ward, Derek Perry, Malcolm Moulton, Mark
Pruneau, Anthony Laginess

City of River Rouge
10600 W. Jefferson Ave.
River Rouge, MI 48218

Telephone: (313) 842-5604

Shame on the City of River Rouge, Michigan. They can go live in The Dog House.


  1. Wow, V. This is powerful. I'm in tears. Post, telling us how we can do something about this. There has to be something. How about a picket outside the entrance to this facility? I could do a couple hours.

  2. I follow your blog for a long time and must tell you that your posts always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers. Keep it up.

  3. Do you all know that this has not changed? You can't get in to find your 'lost' dog. They are never open. This is just criminal! They are supposed to uphold the laws and are not. The politics in that city must be thicker than mud.

  4. This has not changed from what I understand. You can't get in to see the dogs. You can't find anyone to help. This seems to be a horrible place and it goes on and on! This needs to change.

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  6. Why in the world would these individuals not want to allow people to give these animals homes. How can they sleep at night knowing the cruel things they have put the animals through, not to mention the pain and heartache of families missing their four legged family members.

    Patricia Kelly-Trevino you are a Saint! I will be praying for your continued success in freeing these animals from this barbaric institution they call an "Animal Shelter".

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  8. Anon, they truly do not care, and I believe the ones who do care, do not know what goes on. They are going to know now.

  9. Why not get rid of the shelter all together and move into one of shelters in another city. I heard that Allen Park is shutting their shelter down and are combining with Southgate and Wyandotte. They are no-kill. Wouldnt this make more sense? Why remodel a building when clearly the person there does not care

  10. Anonymous - if that's really your name lol
    Wyandotte is NOT a No Kill Shelter. Yes Allen Park is shutting down and combining, but, because of finances not concern for the animals.

    Ms. Trevino please tell me...Are you a PAID employee of that dungeon as you call it? You told me you were a volunteer, then I heard you were paid, now I hear you work for the Police Dept.

    Which is it hun?

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