APAWS vet hospital celebrates construction progress

By: Brian Louwers | C&G Newspapers | Published October 17, 2021

 Theresa Sumpter, executive director of both the Detroit Pit Crew rescue and the Animal Protection and Welfare Services Veterinary Hospital in Eastpointe, said “Amazing Grace” was surrendered by a Detroit resident whose dog had an accidental litter.

Theresa Sumpter, executive director of both the Detroit Pit Crew rescue and the Animal Protection and Welfare Services Veterinary Hospital in Eastpointe, said “Amazing Grace” was surrendered by a Detroit resident whose dog had an accidental litter.

Photo by Brian Louwers

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EASTPOINTE — “Amazing Grace” was wrapped in a blanket and cradled in the caring arms of Detroit Pit Crew volunteers Oct. 8 during an open house celebrating the progress of construction at the Animal Protection and Welfare Services Veterinary Hospital in Eastpointe. 

The 5-week-old puppy was surrendered by a Detroit resident whose dog had an accidental litter. 

“The puppy was born without the two front legs working, and so we agreed to take the puppy, and the mom is getting spayed, actually tomorrow,” said Theresa Sumpter, executive director of both the Detroit Pit Crew rescue and APAWS Veterinary Hospital-Detroit. “There’ll be no more accidental litters and we’re going to get her all the care she needs.”

The plan of care for Amazing Grace includes physical therapy and a wheelchair. 

“She is a sweet, sweet girl,” Sumpter said. “We’re excited that we’re able to help her live her wonderful, beautiful life, even despite her disability.”

Sumpter said that is a good example of the type of work the Detroit Pit Crew and APAWS nonprofit organizations do together, and that completion of the APAWS veterinary hospital on Kelly Road, near Eight Mile Road, will help them do just that. 

“We’re not a shelter, so people can’t turn their dogs in here. We are a veterinary hospital,” Sumpter said of the APAWS facility. “We’re very large. During COVID and after COVID, we found that a lot of people are having trouble getting their pets into veterinary hospitals because the need is there but there’s just not enough.”

In January, APAWS bought the building that was once an asthma and allergy clinic. The space had sat vacant for a few years. Renovations began this summer, and the property is well on its way to becoming a huge resource for rescue groups and law enforcement agencies with animals in need of treatment. Eventually, APAWS will open its doors to the public, offering low-cost veterinary services, including spaying and neutering, vaccinations, heartworm protection, dental services and preventative care.

Due to delivery delays and equipment shortages, Sumpter now says she would like to open the APAWS veterinary hospital for rescue groups by March 2022. 

“Detroit Pit Crew is actually not just an emergency street crew. We are also an assisting agency to several police departments,” Sumpter said. “When a police officer picks up a dog that has been injured or sick or is part of a cruelty case, they’ll have access to our clinic and they’ll be able to come in here and we’ll do the veterinary care on the dog.”

She said services for the public will become available after a second veterinarian is hired.

The APAWS veterinary hospital will treat any breed of dog or cat. 

“As a city that’s a family town, part of every family, people forget that pets are our family too,” Eastpointe Mayor Monique Owens said at the open house. “As a family town, we always try to make sure that no one’s counted out.”

Also in attendance to see the progress at APAWS was Utica Mayor Gus Calandrino. He said Sumpter and Detroit Pit Crew assisted the Utica Police Department with a couple of “very tragic” cruelty cases in recent years.

“They assisted us in making sure the health of both dogs that were in these abuse cases were stabilized,” Calandrino said. “We just really built a relationship, a good friendship, with Theresa and Detroit Pit Crew because of all the good stuff they’ve done.”

The building’s location, its size and the nonprofit’s relationship with the city of Eastpointe factored into the decision to open the first APAWS veterinary hospital there. 

Sumpter said the facility will not operate 24 hours a day. 

“We’ll probably be open six days a week, regular daytime vet hours,” Sumpter said. “We’re excited to be in Eastpointe. The city has been very helpful to us.”

Eastpointe City Councilwoman Sarah Lucido said the feeling is mutual.

“On behalf of the city of Eastpointe, we’re just really excited to have APAWS joining the community,” Lucido said.

“I think a lot of people are excited. I’m very excited. We needed another veterinary clinic in the city. We have a lot of animals, a lot of animal lovers in the city,” Lucido said. 

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