Ever since the start of COVID-19, we have all experienced changes and have adapted to them one way or another. Recognized as an essential service, Michigan Humane had to pivot and make critical decisions in a short amount of time. Thanks to our dedicated teams and your support, we accomplished some incredible things during this crisis. Our dedicated Field Services team quickly adjusted to the new realities of the state. The team noticed a significant drop in call volume for animal cruelty and neglect cases. This new trend was not for the lack of animal cruelty cases that were out there, but rather as a result of the shelter in place order that was issued at the beginning of the pandemic. Compassionate and vigilant neighbors were no longer outside as often to report potential cases of animals in need. Realizing that this drop in call volume would not last long once the state entered its reopening phases, our Field Services team seized this window of opportunity to take a more proactive approach, and launched Operation D.I.N.G.O (Detroiters Inspiring Neighborhood and Group Outreach).

“In order to remain present for and supportive of owners and pet lovers in the city, the Michigan Humane Field Services Team teamed up with Detroit Animal Care and Control to walk neighborhood blocks and engage with community members,” explained Michigan Humane VP of Field Services, Andy Seltz. “The project began on Tuesday, 5/19/20. The zip code 48228 encompasses the largest call volume both in requests for Michigan Humane rescue and Michigan Humane cruelty investigations and was therefore the first area in which we concentrated our efforts. The Detroit Police Department’s 6th Precinct patrol areas were used to break down 48228 into 12 separate areas. Initial attention was given to area 612, specifically south of W. Warren Ave., west of Greenfield Rd., north of Ford Rd. and east of Evergreen.

“Engagement efforts were prioritized as follows: 1. Identify and resolve any issues regarding animals in need of immediate attention. 2. Inquire about neighbors who may have become sick with COVID-19 and have animals left on their properties. 3. Use a proactive approach to address issues that may become a potential problem or implement changes that may increase a pet’s quality of life. 4. Address other animal issues and guide citizens to other resources, as necessary.”

Within the first three days of Operation D.I.N.G.O, Michigan Humane’s Field Agent Pam Dybowski and Investigator Myron Golden walked an average of five miles per day and checked 112 separate locations. That is 112 personal touch points with community members to provide educational resources and avoid potential animal cruelty and neglect issues from happening in the future. Michigan Humane looks forward to continuing to implement proactive measures that benefit both the animals and communities that we serve. Thank you for helping us in making a difference.

For more info on how to report suspected animal cruelty please visit michiganhumane.org/report-cruelty.

Photo Credit: Michigan Humane