If you ask animal lovers if they would ever consider abandoning their pets whenever life circumstances get tough, you will unanimously hear them say they rather live on the streets with their pets than give them up. However, this is not the case in Detroit. Currently, the city is overrun with strays because owners release their animals onto the streets when they no longer can afford caring for them.
National news reports estimate there are 50,000 stray dogs in Detroit. Reports also say that the number of stray dogs has exponentially increased because the city faces three major problems.
- There is an out of control dog fighting crisis.
- The city’s animal control budget has been slashed in recent years, and
- The recent economical decline has cause city residents to flee their homes, leaving their pets behind.
Most of these abandoned dogs do not know how to hunt for their own food, and many of them die while waiting for their owners to come back for them or for a Good Samaritan willing to rescue them.
According to Carlisle, his organization finds dead dogs inside abandoned homes, in the middle of alleys, and in open fields. The over population of Detroit’s stray dogs is problematic, but more concerning is the lack of knowledge city residents have towards basic animal care.
“[Dogs] are like disposable lighters. They don’t seem to have any value to people. They’re left behind easily and abandoned and left to run stray,” Deborah MacDonald, chief cruelty investigator for the Michigan Humane Society in Detroit told Fox 8.
Detroit’s animal rescue organization such as The Humane Society, Detroit Dog Rescue, and All About Animals Rescue aim to control this problem, but help is still needed.
Sadly, the help these innocent animals currently receive is not enough. The law dictates that stray dogs must be euthanized within a week of being rescued if no owner comes forward to claim them, and with owners abandoning their pets on a daily basis, more than seventy percent of the strays saved end up destroyed.
Educating the public on the importance of pet care is the first step. Spaying and neutering pets will help reduce pet over population, but this is not the only solution. Public programs should be set in place to facilitate pet owners, helping them keep their pets when they have fallen on economic hardships. All animals deserve a home, a meal, and vet care.
Ideally, Detroit should have no-kill shelters willing to welcome animals that have to be surrendered, but such places are just dreams.
The Nation overall is struggling to help the large number of pets in needs, and current national resources are just not enough, and not destined to help Detroit’s most needy – the dogs.
What would you do to help?