Detroit: City of Stray Dogs

Rolling Stone photo by Photograph by Wayne Lawrence / Wayne Lawrence/Institute
I just finished reading a rather disturbing story in Rolling Stone about the city of Detroit. This once proud city has fallen victim to the economy is a way perhaps no other city on earth has. Aside from the human toll, the bad economy has caused an epidemic of stray dogs numbering in the tens of thousands.

The tight city budget means that dogs aren’t anywhere near the top of anyone’s priority list, and animal control has a 70% euthanasia rate. In particular, pit bulls are put down if no one claims them within four hours. More than 50 postal workers were attacked by strays in 2010 (as compared to ten similar attacks in NYC the same year).

Enter Detroit Dog Rescue, an organization founded by a down-on-his-luck rapper named Dan Carlisle (a/k/a Hush). He was trying to sell a reality show to the Discovery Channel about the dogs, but ended up posting a video on You Tube. (I won’t link to it from here because it is truly disturbing.) The video went viral and began attracting donations, one to the tune of $1.5 million.

Although they are unlicensed and don’t have a bricks and mortar shelter, Detroit Dog Rescue has picked up at least 200 dogs and fed dozens more. The licensing situation is troubling because it means they really have no authority to pick up any dogs, but they can’t stand to see them left in the deplorable conditions where they are found. If they can’t take a dog, they try to improve conditions for the dog, leaving food or perhaps a dog house nearby.

Some police officers have taken to calling the rescue rather than going through the official channels which would nearly certainly result in the dog’s being put down. One of Detroit’s City Council members has even proposed outsourcing animal control to Detroit Dog Rescue. Is that too little, too late? Not that I have a better idea – it’s just a sad, sad situation.

Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

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4 thoughts on “Detroit: City of Stray Dogs”

  1. Probably stray dogs tend to attack when they’re hungry and hadn’t eaten for some time, and get aggressive. Also having been discarded and thrown out in the streets by their owners for no reason that the dogs can understand, leaves them in a stressed situation. Poor souls.

  2. Part of the problem is the use of a living creature as a accessory like wearing a watch, a pair of trendy sneakers or jeans. Pit bulls are currently the top brand Unfortunately they can be discarded as easily as these scuffed shoes or stained pants. What is wrong with this generation?

  3. What is wrong with people? I hate stories of such terrible terrible animal abuse. They don’t get a choice.

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