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New Estimates: 50,000 Stray Dogs Roam Detroit

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(credit: MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images, File)

(credit: MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images, File)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit’s problem with stray dogs has been making headlines this week around world — with some estimating the city is home to as many as 50,000 strays.

Dan “Hush” Carlisle, who started the Detroit Dog Rescue, says that number has only been growing in recent years.

He said contributing factors include drastic budget cuts at Detroit Animal Control, the huge problem of dog fighting, and the city’s population decline.

“The problem is, with 70,000 abandoned buildings and warehouses and residential homes — these are large dog houses. That’s all they are,” told WWJ’s Sandra McNeil.

Carlisle said the stray dog problem is also being fueled by people releasing their pets because they can no longer afford to care for them.

“That dog has been domesticated for so long, it doesn’t know how to hunt,” said Carlisle. “So if it’s not getting food from anybody, then it’s gonna die. Most of the times we find dead dogs inside of abandoned homes; we find them in alleys; we find them in fields.”

“But when people can’t afford their dogs — they have to choose,” he said.

Carlisle, who rescue grew up in Detroit, says stray dogs have been problem in the city his entire life. “Since the 80s, you know, I’d go to a party store and there’d be a pack of dogs outside the party store, sitting there waiting, you know? Hoping maybe someone would give them some food.”

The Detroit Dog Rescue has seven full-time workers who patrol the city, looking to round up and feed hungry strays.

Carlisle said they’ve been working to raise money for a no-kill shelter; but, at this point, it’s still just a dream.

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