Thousands of Strays: Detroit

Neglected dogs in Detroit cause thousands of stray dogs

Stray dog wondering the streets of Detroit, Michigan. Source: Dante Dasani 2012

During the 1950s riots, Detroit, Michigan, started out with hundreds of dogs roaming the city, but as of now the number has increased to thousands. As residents of Detroit abandon their homes, to find better work and living conditions due to bankruptcy in 2013, many people, also left behind their animals. As more citizens move out of the city, the numbers of strays continued to grow. By 2015, Detroit has reached to the amount of 50,000 stray dogs wondering the streets.

Because Detroit is known for its high crime rates and abandon buildings, many people think stray dogs are over looked and said to be at the bottom of issues the city needs to fix. However, there are some people who try to make a difference in their neighborhoods by doing what they can to help.

Clyde Wilson,28, born and raised in the city of Detroit, has watched his city fill the streets with lost dogs. As a child, he found himself bringing a stray dog home at the age of 12, three different occasions, only to be turned away by his parents. Sixteen years later, Clyde sits on the porch of his own home to discover a lost dog hanging around his front yard.

Unsure of how the dog got there, Wilson grabbed a kitchen broom and convinced the dog to leave his property. A few days later, the same dog appeared in his yard again. Wilson noticed the dog was neglected and decided to turn the dog in to a local Humane Society.

Clyde’s life has changed for the better, since he brought his furry friend home six months ago. He hopes that other Detroit citizens take action and not ignore the dogs. “Whether it’s a warm home, searching for the owner, or giving the humane society a call; we can help our city by rescuing our abandoned animals,” said Clyde Wilson.

While it’s encouraged to help stray dogs, not every dog is approachable. In fact, many dogs are found to be dangerous. Pit Bull dogs are well known to be vicious dogs, that citizens are constantly warned to not approach. These dogs are found traveling in packs, living in abandon homes and roaming through the neighborhood trashcans. Like most stray dogs, some Pit Bull’s carry unknown diseases and attacks can be deadly.

Brenda Brown, 43, knows all too well about the dangers of stray dogs in Detroit. She and her grandchildren were walking to a local grocery store in late June, just a few blocks away from her home, when two Pit Bull dogs came from inside an abandon house ready to attack. Brenda quickly ran to a nearby car, putting her two small grandchildren on top for safety. “I was just making sure my grand babies were okay, that is all I was concerned about at that time,” said Brenda.

Barely making it on top of the car, the Pit Bull was able to get a hold of Brown’s pants leg nearly biting her ankle. Neighbors came to her rescue by shouting and throwing stuff at the two dogs until they fled the scene. Since no one was hurt, Brown said she did not contact the police nor animal control. “All I could remember was how scared I was and how I couldn’t walk pass that house for months,” said Brown.

The dogs no longer reside at that abandon home, however, the house is still available for the next dog to live in. Brenda Brown also wants citizens of Detroit to be aware of the dangers of not just Pit Bull dogs but any stray dogs. She and her neighbors hopes the city does something soon.

Below is a link to a timeline of Pit Bull incidents that happened in Detroit starting from 2013 to present year.

https://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline3/latest/embed/index.html?source=1-TY1JFeQT7SW_l0vC2WNTaWxaPQdgr_HAPZw_1MZiy4&font=Default&lang=en&initial_zoom=2&height=650

Michigan Humane Society, located near midtown Detroit, works to help all kinds of animals. They take in injured strays, wildlife, and assist pet owners with animal care. Jessica Quinn, 33, a veterinary assistant in the Veterinary Department discussed surrendering and pet adoption details in an over the phone interview.

Jessica is aware of the problem Detroit has with thousands of stray dogs wondering the streets. She suggests that people should contact the Detroit rescue centers for any roaming dogs they witness. “People should not ignore them, it’s important for someone to contact us so we can help those animals. It also helps keep the neighborhood safe and free of any dangerous dogs or Wildlife,” said Quinn. Jessica believes if more people were willing to come together and help, the amount of strays will begin to decrease.

Although, Detroit does lack dog catchers, rescue centers are always willing to help. However, rescue centers can’t locate every stray dog. If they are notified, it could help solve Detroit’s big dog issue. The residents of Detroit want to see a change in their city but it starts with them. Citizens should report all abandon houses or buildings that contain any dogs, rather they are danger or not.
If you are a Detroit resident that has witness neglect or found any unattended animals, please call the Emergency Rescue department at (313) 872-0026.