Detroit’s No-Kill Dog Shelter Got New Headquarters


Detroit – The city’s first and only no-kill animal shelter is being offered a second location on the west side of town, allowing it to house and adopt more dogs.

Detroit Dog Rescue got the keys this week to a former animal care center in the Five Points neighborhood after learning a few weeks ago that it was being donated to the nonprofit.

“It’s that moment when you open a Christmas present and you’re just in shock,” Kristina Rinaldi, executive director of Detroit Dog Rescue, said at a press conference Thursday inside the building on Grand River Ave.

“It’s not every day you get a call asking for a real estate gift, but to have this gift for the dogs of Detroit is just amazing. I was in disbelief anyone didn’t want anything in return. “They just wanted to give us a building. What it can do for the community is immeasurable.”

The group, Rinaldi said, plans to use the site as a new headquarters and facilitate training, care and adoption services.

The former 10,000 square foot Westcott Veterinary Care Center was built in the 1960s and includes approximately 10 treatment rooms, an operating room, medical facility and has plenty of kennel space, a- she declared.

The building has been empty since July, when the veterinary practice downsized.

Rinaldi said he received a phone call from Janice Collins, a Westcott veterinarian, telling him the practice wanted to offer the building for rescue.

“She said, ‘I see the work you’re doing…and I think you could use this building to the best of your abilities and you can make it awesome,'” Rinaldi told reporters.

Collins was unable to attend Thursday’s press conference as she was dealing with animal surgeries. She could not be immediately reached by phone for comment.

Detroit Dog Rescue originally formed in 2011 as a foster-based operation and was licensed in 2015 to operate as Detroit’s first no-kill animal shelter.

The group opened their existing 2,500 square foot shelter on Harper in May 2014 and have been able to house about 25 dogs there at a time. The rescue is currently finding homes for its dogs through adoption events. He did not facilitate adoption services from his east side shelter.

Rinaldi said the new spot should be able to house around 50 more of his dogs and will allow the group to offer on-site public adoption services for the first time.

The new building, she said, will also provide the rescue with offices, indoor dog training facilities, animal housing and care services.

The rescue has approximately 50 foster partners, 80 volunteers and a staff of eight. It is mainly funded by public support and donations.

The cost and timeline for upgrading the new site is not yet known, but Rinaldi said the group is looking for volunteers and proposals as it works on a development plan.

In the future, the group’s existing east side facility could become a low-cost veterinary clinic for Detroit residents.

Since its inception, the group has helped over 5,000 dogs through its vaccination clinics, rehabilitation and adoption services.

Among those present for Thursday’s announcement were staff and volunteers and Chandler, a pit bull mix rescued by the group earlier this year. The pup was found in a city park in May with its abdomen cut open.

The former Westcott Veterinary Care Clinic building in Detroit's West Side Five Points neighborhood was donated to Detroit Dog Rescue by the building's owner, Dr. Janice Collins, the DDR announced Thursday.

The dog, now around 8 months old, was adopted by James Rigato, owner and chef of the Mabel Gray restaurant in Hazel Park.

“Chandler wouldn’t have lasted another day. He was on the verge of death and was literally brought back to an exceptional life,” Rigato said. “They take the worst case scenarios and they get the best possible results.”

Rinaldi said the group is known for taking on some of the toughest cases in the city, including stray and homeless dogs who have been shot, stabbed or burned.

“Chandler is everything Detroit Dog Rescue stands for,” she said. “He’s your average Detroit dog. The dogs that never had a chance.

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