Stray Dogs Are Taking Over Detroit. Help Is Needed

Detroit, Michigan, is overrun with strays because owners release their animals to the streets when they can no longer afford their care.

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.

  1. There is an out of control dog fighting crisis.
  2. The city’s animal control budget has been slashed in recent years, and
  3. The recent economical decline has cause city residents to flee their homes, leaving their pets behind.


Photo Credit: Detroit Dog Rescue
Photo Credit: Detroit Dog Rescue


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.

Dan Carlisle, founder of Detroit Dog Rescue told CBS Detroit that if dogs are not getting food from anyone, “then it’s gonna die.”

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?


15 thoughts on “Stray Dogs Are Taking Over Detroit. Help Is Needed

  1. Have other shelters come in and rescue these dogs and bring them back to their cities to adopt them out. I know it’s a matter of lack of money. However, the magnitude of this problem is big enough to get others involved.

  2. I know that we’ve sent dogs from coast-to-coast when it was perceived that there would be homes for them elsewhere, and after Katrina, dogs were sent all over the country. I’d love to see teams get in there to spay and neuter these dogs, so that the problem doesn’t get worse, and then have them sent to parts of the country which could support them.

  3. This is horrible. Major animal welfare groups rake in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. They are rolling in money stored away in off shore accounts. The ASPCA shows pictures of rescuing starving dogs, and people donate in droves. Same with HSUS, PETA, all of them. So WHERE ARE THEY? This is not unique to Detroit. Pick any area, you will either find starving, sick cats or dogs. The American public is remarkably generous when giving to animal charities, but we are being scammed. The money does not go toward the animals. If it did, you would see the ASPCA racing into Detroit and saving these dogs just like they do in their sappy, manipulative commercials. But no one is saving these dogs.

    1. If this is true, then the people who are doing this should be profoundly ashamed (but of course I get it, if they can do it to begin with, there’s no shame anywhere in the near vicinity).

      People should support groups like Rescue Ink, Justice Rescue et al. Now these are guys with their hearts in the right place.

      We should all get the word out.

    2. Detroit Dog Rescue got a HUGE anonymous donation a couple years back to build a no-kill facility. Where is it???

  4. The frivolous attitude the human race can have towards animals sickens me. Dogs and other pets are for life. How anyone can abandon such a loving creature is beyond me. More attention needs to be brought to this issue.

    1. Donate to the rescue groups that are doing all the work – like DAWG in Shelby Twp and many, many others around the Detroit suburban area.

  5. I would like to see a program (perhaps through the ASPCA), or even a facebook page, dedicated to helping families who can no longer care for their pets be connected to a family willing to take in a pet, or be connected to a family willing to foster that pet until the family can take it back. People are having to move from their home into an apartment, motel or car until their situation changes. There are people willing to help. I know I would be.

  6. There are so many grocery stores that throw food away daily. This ranges from produce to meats. Why not have these groups work with the stores to pick up that food and use it to feed in these rescue groups. We are constantly told to recycle. Well this would be a tremendous saving on food costs to all. The store would benefit on their trash reduction. Well then think on landfills. This is truly a winning solution. Here everyone talks of money (or lack of) this would only consist of organization, cooperation, and elbow grease. I hope everyone reading all these comments really gives this a thought. I surely have and feed my cows on the waste of many. It could work and have proven it does.

  7. Kim commented on Stray Dogs Are Taking Over Detroit. Help Is Needed on Life With Dogs.

    STOP PAYING CITY OFFICIALS WHO LINE THEIR POCKETS, ARE UNEDUCATED ABOUT ANIMALS, AND DON’T GIVE A HOOT ABOUT OUTCOMES OF INTAKES. The list of rescues who work in the city is too long that don’t receive funding or help and rely on donations and fund raisers AND WORK FOR FREE BECAUSE THEY LOVE DOGS. The time has come for government to pass on funding and tax dollars to people who care, not people who are there to collect a paycheck and benefits. They know how to stretch their money and make every dollar count. The CITY should be paying for spaying and neutering and education since doing so will cost them less in the long run. People caught fighting or breeding dogs should be penalized with the money going to this objective. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST–What happened to vets who cared about the well being and health of animals, instead of dollar signs when they see a street animal that needs care? Don’t you make enough $ off people that can afford to take care of their animals, instead of gouging every rescue that brings in a sick stray? The sheer integrity for the majority of animal doctors has gone right down the tubes, and I know of numerous incidents to base this on. You all know who you are.

  8. a lot of these animals in Detroit do not have the mentality to take care of a pet and not only are they poor but mentally bankrupt. They do not spay and neuter but let the dogs breed and run the streets and fight. I think we need a spay/neuter law and no more pit bulls bred. No because I think they are bad but the wrong people have them and are destroying and have them for the wrong reasons. They are being bred for the wrong reason such as Michael Vick did. some one needs to help Detroit and teach the 2 legged animals how to care for their pets and children and keep them off the street!

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