Rescue groups not giving up on Detroit's stray dog epidemic

Metro Detroit rescue groups not dwelling on numbers; rather rolling sleeves up, getting busy

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DETROIT - Detroit recently made international headlines when Bloomberg News reported as many as 50,000 stray dogs are roaming the city streets.

Metro Detroit animal rescue groups say they aren't listening to the hype or dwelling on the numbers. Instead, they are in the communities responding to calls daily to rescue injured, abused
and abandoned dogs.

"The latest news stories have created a huge buzz about the stray problem and now everyone wants a quick fix," said Bill Bellottie, Director of Operations and Co-founder of Detroit Bully Corps. "The reality is that Detroit is no different than other large cities and this is nothing new. Detroit has had stray dogs roaming the streets for as long as I can remember."


Michigan law requires animal shelters and rescues to hold a stray dog for a minimum of four days before offering it up for adoption or euthanizing it, but Bellottie says many shelters don't use the available resources to network these displaced animals.

Bellottie says about 70 percent of animals brought to Detroit Animal Control never make it out alive. She says that number may actually be higher since the city filed for bankruptcy in July.

Read: Mich. Senate bans gas chambers in animal shelters.

Shelters and animal control are often left with no option but to euthanize animals in order to make space.

The only way to control the unwanted pet epidemic is to always spayed and neuter your pet, adopt a pet rather than buy from a breeder and contact your legislators to demand tougher penalties for those who engage in dog fighting and other forms of animal abuse.

Resources for change:

  • For the Love of Louie Michigan Lost Pet Lookers on Facebook is a resource for lost and found pets.
  • Detroit Bully Corps works with Detroit police and fire departments to rescue dogs found on the streets, especially American Pit Bull Terrier breeds.
  • Dog Aide works with Detroit Bully Corps to help provide pet food, supplies and other resources to dog owners in need at a community outreach center in Detroit
  • Detroit Area Welfare Group (DAWG) rescues unwanted and neglected dogs from the streets of Detroit. They provide dog food, flea prevention, and other supplies to owners in need, police and fire departments, and other rescue groups.
  • The Michigan Humane Society investigates more than 5,000 animal cruelty complaints each year, they offer low-cost sterilization and vaccination programs and are the largest and oldest animal welfare organization in the state. MHS cares for more than 100,000 animals each year.
  • Providing for Paws uses community outreach to help keep dogs in their homes by delivering pet food, medical care and other resources to pet owners in need. The organization was called by Detroit police to help rescue an abused dog named Patty that was found partially skinned in Detroit.
  • Paws for Life rescues abandoned dogs and cats from Detroit and also assists dogs living in the city by providing dog and cat food free of charge to other rescue groups that feed abandoned pets and dogs that live their lives chained outside.
  • Waggin' Tails Dog Rescue does their part by providing spay-neuter services, supplies, and monetary assistance for medical care to individuals with pets in need or directly to other rescue/shelter organizations. Their organization has also assisted with property clean up, collected food and supplies, provided pet care education and built doghouses to help care for the dogs living in the city of Detroit.
  • Home FurEver has about 90-130 dogs at a time in their foster care program, making them one of the largest foster-based rescues in the area. All of their financial support for
    food and veterinary care comes from donations and fundraising.
  • 4 Paws 1 Heart assists rescue organizations and animal control officers by providing medical dollars for sick and injured rescue animals.

All of the organizations rely on public donations to fund their rescue mission and support the animals they care for.

--Charm helped by 4 Paws 1 Heart.

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