Abandoned Dogs Hit Epidemic Proportions In Detroit

Detroit is bankrupt and many residents have fled the troubled Motor City, leaving behind an estimated 50,000 stray dogs. INSIDE EDITION reports on the tragic story.

It's a city where dogs run wild, roaming the streets with owners nowhere in sight. Images of the dogs were captured on the streets of Detroit.

The Motor City has filed for bankruptcy and financially strapped citizens are abandoning their dogs by the thousands.

With no one to care for them, the desperate animals are left to fend for themselves.

INSIDE EDITION's Lisa Guerrero found a stray dog in a house that looked like it has just been in a fight, cleaning its leg which had a puncture wound.

A headline in Bloomberg reads: "Abandoned Dogs Roam Detroit In Packs As Humans Dwindle." The report cites as many as 50,000 dogs roaming in packs. A grim situation that is potentially dangerous and positively heartbreaking.

INSIDE EDITION's Lisa Guerrero asked one resident, "How many dogs have you seen in the neighborhood abandoned?"

"Countless," replied the resident.

Children have been bitten or chased.

Guerrero asked one young boy, "You were chased by a dog?"

"Uh huh," he answered.

"What kind of dog?"

"I think it was a Pitbull," said the boy.

Tom McPhee, Executive Director and founder of the World Animal Awareness Society has been videotaping and documenting this city of stray dogs. Guerrero asked if the dogs are dangerous.

"It's hard to say," said McPhee.

McPhee says many dogs are once domesticated pets that are now confused and frightened, waiting in vain for their owners to return some day.

"This was its home. That was it's dog bowl and it needed to be fed and there was no one to feed it," said McPhee.

To survive, some dogs will join packs of other animals running wild, or rely on the kindness of strangers. In the heat of the day, the dogs are hiding inside some of the abandoned houses, but evidence can be seen that some of the neighbors have been feeding them.

"The owner is gone. The pets stay because this is their home too?" asked Guerrero.

"Yes," answer McPhee.

The dogs enter vacant homes through broken windows. There are plenty to chose from. An estimated 70,000 homes sit vacant in Detroit. Broken pipes provide a steady source of water for the dogs.

Budget cuts have left the entire city of Detroit with only only four animal control officers to manage the thousands of dogs roaming wild on the streets. They come upon harrowing scenes like a terrified stray dog trapped on a roof. A volunteer approached and threw a blanket over the dog, then managed to bring him down to safety.

The dire condition has led local rapper Hush to organize Detroit Dog Rescue. Guerrero went along as he responded to a tip about an abandoned dog.

Guerrero asked Hush, "They don't know where their owners are. Are they suffering?"

"I think they are," said Hush.

Then, Guerrero came upon two stray, frightened dogs huddled together.

Hush said, "I wouldn't suggest residents come around those dogs. I would suggest they leave them be and leave it to experts."

Hush and his rescue team offer the hungry strays a welcome bowl of food.

And so it goes for these four-legged victims of an ailing city. There is nowhere to turn but the streets.