DETROIT - As many as 50,000 stray dogs are roaming the streets of Detroit right now.
It's an urgent problem that has some rescuers going into the toughest neighborhoods to save these dogs and stop the animal population from exploding.
Take a ride through the city and you will find them -- stray dogs roaming the streets everywhere. The strays have no food, no water and no care. Others are kept as pets and some are bred for fighting, often many are abused.
The population is exploding and now there's an all-out war on the ground the stop the chaos. Kristen Houston travels into some of Detroit's toughest neighborhoods.
"They say thank you every day to me," said Houston.
She feeds dogs that are being neglected and lends a hand to owners who care but simply can't afford the care of their pets.
"Sometimes we're not able to get what you need, sometimes they provide medical care for them, you know, like medicine and flea powder, and it's a great help," said one resident.
Houston works with All About Animals Rescue.
"There are some people who don't even know that there is a surgery that their animals can have to not have babies," she said.
Houston and her team make their way through the city one home at the time, offering advice, food and medical treatment, often for free.
"We are really trying to implement this program of spade and neutering in these underserved communities," said Houston. "All of these dogs that we see have never seen a veterinarian."
Some strays roaming the streets are picked up and spayed or neutered, and in some cases put up for adoption.
Across town on the east side another Detroiter is making a difference.
Rapper Dan "Hush" Carlisle is co-founder of the Detroit Dog Rescue. He works the neighborhoods developing relationships with those on the streets. Members of his organization track down strays to save the dogs from abusive situations.
"There is a problem because residents tell us there is a problem," said Carlisle. "Look at that dog, he's tied to the back bumper of a car."
Few in the city have money to have their dogs spayed and neutered and that is only causing the population to explode. "People, number one they can't even afford groceries, so how can they afford to licenses their animals?" said Carlisle.
Many volunteers are working to raise money to fund these procedures and they are working to get strays into homes. It is all happening one dog at a time.
"The problem has grown out of hand," said Carlisle. "Where there is human suffering, there is going to be animal suffering," said Houston.
How you can help:
Many of these organizations can only survive and continue their work by receiving donations from the public.
You can also help by offering to foster a pet in your home or by donating food, blankets or your time to a reputable 501-C3 rescue organization.
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