Dog Abuse

Dog Left Abandoned for Weeks Inside Townhouse, Officers Say Their Hands are Tied

UPDATE: Animal control officers finally located the owner of the property and plan to remove the dog today.

A dog has been trapped inside an abandoned townhouse for at least three weeks, presumably without food or water, in the soaring heat of summer – and animal control officers are legally unable to save him.

Allecia Gates walks her own dog in her Detroit neighborhood several times a day. Three weeks ago, she discovered a dog trapped inside a vacant townhouse after he chewed through the screen of a second story window and stuck his head out, barking.

When calls to police and animal control offered no assistance, she contacted FOX2 for help.

“I just feel real bad for the guy he’s going to jump out of there,” she said. “But he needs food, he needs water and he is using he bathroom in there and they smell him.”

Investigative reporters reached out to Detroit Animal Control who say there’s little they can do until the owner of the property is located.

Despite obvious signs the dog is abandoned, distressed, and neglected, animal control officers are not legally allowed to enter the home to rescue him.

Doing what she can to help, Gates began searching through public records and believes she located the owner of the property. However, she says they denied owning the townhome.

Besides the cruelty and suffering the dog is enduring being trapped without food, water, and fresh air, Gates is concerned the dog will eventually jump from the window to escape.

Neighbor Mary Forest, who resides right next door, said, “Look how he is and he’s about ready to jump out of there. If he jumps out of course he is going to be angry and hungry. And you never know what is going to happen.”

How is it possible that rescuers are unable to save a dog that’s clearly abandoned and in distress? Laws that label animals as simple property, instead of sentient, living, breathing, and feeling beings has left them with little to no legal rights to help.

Until these laws are changed, dogs will continue to suffer.



  1. Jacquie

    Aug 6, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I'm glad he was rescued although his house looks abandoned and his nails need to be cut. Someone should have climbed up and got him, if this were true. Why couldn't the cops have forced entry to help an animal in distress?

    • Judy Johnsen

      Aug 4, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      It depends what the last is, also may not be enough resources. But I am glad the animal was rescued. Could someone have called for a well being check from police, what of the resident died in there? Even if it says it’s abandoned, could someone have gone in to get their belongings?

  2. sue

    Aug 6, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    I don't know Detroit ACC but I bet its a high-kill shelter. If someone doesnt want that poor baby, I'll take him.
    Does anybody have more details on his name and which shelter he's in? Then I have figure out how to get him back to NYC..
    But first things first! Thanks.

  3. Monica

    Aug 6, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    what a load of bullshit the law should be allowed to enter a persons home to save and rescue any animal that is left to perish.. the bastard owners of the dog should be fined and prosecuted and jailed and the dog given to a loving home!!!!!

  4. C Lackey

    Aug 6, 2017 at 2:12 am

    Someone just go and get him. Take a ladder and reach in or call him. grab him. down the latter you go.Problem solved. This is what i would of done……Thought there were laws to protect animals from abusers? This is abuse as far as i am concerned.

    • Lin

      Aug 9, 2017 at 3:12 am

      I agree, C Lackey. Get a ladder and rescue him…that way no one can be accused of entering that property. Do it at night and then act like you never saw that dog. At least he was rescued, but he is still in a lot of danger if that "shelter" is a kill shelter…which are worthless, murdering hellholes.

  5. Jamie

    Aug 5, 2017 at 11:26 pm


  6. B

    Aug 4, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    I hope the dog is safe now. What bs. I would have just gotten the damn dog out and dissapeared.

  7. Chris S

    Aug 4, 2017 at 11:02 am

    The laws are not always meant to be followed! Anyone not getting this dog, shame on you! I am glad to read he is finally being rescued but my god people… what is wrong with you? His life is as important as yours… save the guy!

  8. Amy

    Aug 3, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    He was rescued

    • gee

      Aug 4, 2017 at 11:29 am

      who rescued him? any more details?

    • Janet Curtis

      Aug 4, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      stop with the vague answers if he was rescued say when how pls someone took him animal control helped if not whats the number for this city ????

    • Angel

      Aug 5, 2017 at 1:04 am

      Oh my god thank you!!

  9. Joy Jennings

    Aug 3, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    So much false information in this article according to a family member that works with DACC.
    The dog was not left abandoned nor did it go without food and water for 3 weeks. The townhome is not abandoned and the owner is present.
    Please contact DACC if you have questions about local laws and you would like to help animals in need. Volunteers are always needed.

    • Kimber

      Aug 3, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      Joy Jennings where did you get your information?? I find it interesting that only you have commented in this manner, if you could sight your sources of information so it can actually be fact checked (I'm a big one, as you seem to be on knowing the true facts), I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you Joy.

    • M williams

      Aug 4, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Is there another article that states different information out there somewhere? Is like to read the other side of the story.

    • Karin

      Aug 4, 2017 at 11:32 am

      Just by looking at the dog's nails alone it can be judged that this dog is neglected. I would like to know this family member who supposedly works with DACC – they should pass on information on how to properly care for an animal.

    • Angel

      Aug 5, 2017 at 1:07 am

      So where is this information that people are asking for? You came here citing this is false information and then just vanished.

  10. Rudy

    Aug 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Animal Control is better at killing dogs than saving them.

    • Amy

      Aug 3, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      You're about 2yrs behind the times as DACC is nothing like the DAC of the last

      • Amy

        Aug 3, 2017 at 10:43 pm

        DAC of the *Past

  11. Marie

    Aug 3, 2017 at 4:23 am

    Neighbors and other outraged citizen in this area need to just go get the dog. Break the law people, rescue this poor animal! Sure any legal fees can be raised.

  12. Cee Tee

    Aug 3, 2017 at 3:48 am

    What if it had been a small child instead? Would they left him there for three weeks without food or water? Certainly the authorities could have come up with SOME excuse to be able to enter the property!! Welfare check on the resident there, if nothing else!

  13. Nancy

    Aug 3, 2017 at 12:05 am

    This sounds so rediculous to me. How can any human just let that poor baby suffer! REALLY! Come on someone get him out of there. I dont care who but anyone. Get him out, give him water, food, and get him to a rescue. How hard would that be? Be a hero!!

  14. Jesse

    Aug 2, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    why not just to say you think you heard a human calling for help.
    I reason enough for the police to have to respond.

  15. Gwen Craig

    Aug 2, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Bullshit!!!!! And are the scumbags who abandoned this innocent animal going to jail, or better yet, being locked in a room with no food or water for three weeks???????

    • Kim & David

      Aug 3, 2017 at 1:04 am

      I agree!! The laws need to be changed!!

  16. Diane Marie

    Aug 2, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Someone rent a box truck and park it under the window, climb up on the truck and "encourage" the dog through the window. The dog came out on its own so no problem.

    • Christina Terrazas

      Aug 3, 2017 at 1:22 am

      Exactly I'm sure if someone left a big screen tv abandoned in there someone would find a way to Get that tv someone could at least get that dog on the DL


      Aug 3, 2017 at 2:10 am

      excellent idea diane.

  17. Virginia Abreu de Paula

    Aug 2, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Of course they can save the dog. They just don't want to. Probably it would be considered invasion. But I doubt they would follow the law if it was an abandoned human baby. So, people from this city, please, right now, save the dog!

  18. Cheryl

    Aug 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    This is utter bullshit. You mean to tell me that a police officer can break into a car when it is 100°F outside, but he cannot go into a house for an animal that has not food or water and it is hot outside. I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS!

    • Betty

      Aug 2, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      In looking for a petition

    • Jenae

      Aug 3, 2017 at 12:11 am

      Great idea!

  19. Kim Donis

    Aug 2, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    How is this true?? Cause you can break into a car if animal is left/ locked in an unoccupied car.!

    So how is the dog now? Is he still locked in there.???

  20. Kelly

    Aug 2, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    What can we do to get these laws changed ? Who do we need to contact? Someone needs to save this poor animal before he dies ….. if the home is abandoned why doesn't someone just take the dog. Obviously no one is going to be looking for him. Take the dog to a local rescue

  21. Jami

    Aug 2, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    That's insane I would bust that door open and get that dog . That is awful knowing he is suffering no food , water or air ! A police officer can get a court order to go in it disgusts me to know that no one is trying to help this dog wish I didn't live in Michigan I would help him no matter the charge he is starving to death ! How would you like to suffer this way ! Humane society and police can get orders by judge to save him and I pray no one ever goes hungry in their lives

  22. Barbara J. Hammond

    Aug 2, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Somebody get some balls and go and get the damn dog. The police can get him as he is a disturbance to the other neighbors. At least give him some food and water at the screen or pull him out. Cut him out. Use your noodle!

  23. Rosanne

    Aug 2, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    How absolutely ludicrous! What kind of place is (or even WAS!) this city to not have ANY laws that would provide this poor beast with some minimal protection?! Not in the least impressed with the U.S. these days. ☹️

  24. Jill

    Aug 2, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I say bullshit. If it's an abonden property then there is no-one to contact. However it's Detroit

  25. Susan Moore

    Aug 2, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Stuff the owner dog is starving to death bang the door in and save poor thing or at least feed and water him this is total cruelty to poor thing get off your backsides get court order and save it .This is bloody barbaric

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