In a city with persistent economic problems, owners are abandoning their dogs because they can’t afford to keep them and illegal dogfighting operations are cropping up. Loose dogs rounded up and housed in city shelters are often euthanized if they go unclaimed for days.
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It’s all too much to take for rapper Dan “Hush” Carlisle and TV producer Monica Martino, who co-founded the nonprofit Detroit Dog Rescue in 2011.
The group’s mission is this: Round up all the dogs and find them homes. For the dogs that take a little longer to find a landing spot, Detroit Dog Rescue wants to build a shelter designed to comfortably house them.
Either way, no dog dies.
It may sound like pie in the sky, but consider this: Carlisle and his team of four full-time employees, two part-timers and various volunteers have taken 200 dogs off the streets since DDR was formed last year. In December, an anonymous donor from California transferred $1.5 million in valued stock options to the group toward its planned no-kill shelter, which the nonprofit says would be the first of its kind in the city.
“It’s a homeless epidemic of these animals,” said Carlisle, who under the stage name “Hush” has accompanied Eminem on tour and opened for Snoop Dogg in London.
Bruce King, who oversees Detroit’s animal shelter program, says the city captures 3,000 to 5,000 dogs annually.
Carlisle and his crew have spent many of their days scouring Detroit, including regular sojourns through some of the city’s worst neighborhoods, in search of dogs in need of food, shelter and a little affection.
“Other organizations – they’re focused on everything from a deer to a bird to a ferret to a rabbit, a lizard, an alligator. You name it,” he said. “But we are Detroit Dog Rescue. We are focusing solely on the homeless dogs.”