100,000 Detroit Dogs Down And Out

The cost of a wrecked economy has an animal impact as well as a human one.

Detroit Dog Rescue has made rescuing pets who were abandoned by people leaving the once prosperous city their mission, but with anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 dogs roaming the streets of Detroit, the DDR has its work cut out for them. Read how they’re saving dogs, one stray at a time, and placing them in loving homes. — Global Animal




NBC, Kevin Tibbles

So much has been written about the heartache that has befallen Detroit in recent years. The population has plummeted from 2 million during the boom days of the 1950s to about 700,000 today. As people fled the city, they left behind whole neighborhoods of abandoned houses–some 70,000 derelict and deteriorating homes today. But while the people population of the Motor City has fallen, the stray dog population has skyrocketed.

Conservative estimates suggest there are some 50,000 strays on the streets. That’s roughly the human population of Niagara Falls, New York, or Pensacola, Florida. They live day-to-day, sleep in dilapidated buildings, have litters in the closets of vacant homes. Some have been abandoned by their owners, others are second- or third-generation untamed. They scrounge for food and shelter, and, as one observer told me, travel in packs for social order and protection.

Seeing what was happening to ‘man’s best friend’ in his hometown left local resident Dan Carlisle, as he says, “sad and mad. Carlisle is a Detroit rapper who goes by the name of Hush. He’s from the same neighborhood that gave the music world Eminem, and performs with him in music videos. Hush teamed up with Californian Monica Martino to form the Detroit Dog Rescue.

With almost military precision, DDR volunteers comb backstreets and alleyways looking for dogs. With a caravan of SUVs and pickup trucks, they seek out canines that are always hungry, often sick and frightened. So far this year, dozens of strays have been taken from the streets and placed in foster homes or adopted by new families.

The city’s own Animal Control department is so overwhelmed by strays that the local shelters are full. Roughly 80 percent of dogs picked up here are euthanized. Detroit Dog Rescue is now working on funding for a ‘No Kill’ shelter in the Motor City.

“I’ve had a dog look at me and say like “Thank you,” says Hush. “When a dog comes up to me and puts his head down and rolls over and just submits to you it’s like… “Help.”

As Detroit struggles to put itself right, the members of the Detroit Dog Rescue believe those inhabitants who don’t have voices of their own should never be left to fend for themselves.

More MSNBC: http://dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/05/10/6620234-helping-detroits-stray-dogs