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Outrageous Detroit Stats: 350 Stray Dogs Per Square Mile?

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Rolling Stone's culture section admits that the figure might be inflated, but still, the fact has been thrown out there. They report that Detroit might have as many as 50,000 stray dogs (Headline: City of Strays: Detroit's Epidemic of 50,000 Abandoned Dogs) which means 350 strays per square mile. Have you been mauled today? Listen, we've never gone out counting, but we're in the city everyday and it's not like roving gangs of them out there. (For that scene, consider reading Detroit author Toby Barlow's novel, Sharp Teeth. It is set in L.A.) From there, the article gets more wild in the "Look at the Circus Freak Show that is Detroit" theme. And then more sobering, servicey, and actually quite good by the end.

RS goes on to describe how Detroiter Dan Carlisle (hip-hop artist who records under the name Hush) and a Los Angeles television producer named Monica Martino decide to put together a reality series for the Discovery Channel about Detroit's stray dogs. But the city quashes it for the exact reasons you'd expect: "unhappy at the prospect of another negative portrayal of Detroit and also claiming queasiness about the potential exploitation of animals, [Detroit] refused to grant a permit, so the show was scrapped." Now. Try to keep up... After that, the two upload some footage of the dogs to YouTube, take donations for Detroit Dog Rescue, a nonprofit rescue group they founded and then...in a plot twist so high-concept you could build an old-fashioned, pre-reality-era sitcom around it – an anony­mous philanthropist gave the budding organization $1.5 million. Suddenly, the Hollywood producer and the obscure Midwestern rapper found themselves thrust into the position of seriously running their own dog-rescue operation in the most dangerous large city in the United States. "Be careful what you wish for," Carlisle, 39, says ruefully.

It's at this point we hit that "only in crazy, dangerous Detroit note" hard (DING!) But what follows in the four-pager is actually pretty good. Rolling Stone is at it's best getting biographical with Carlisle and cataloging the work of the DDR. It's even very nearly service journalism at the point when the article questions whether the city should outsource animal control services to DDR. We're rather convinced it should. And that maybe our 10,00 abandoned houses should be turned into dog houses. And on that note, we'll end this one like Bob Barker. "Help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered."

· City of Strays: Detroit's Epidemic of 50,000 Abandoned Dogs [Rolling Stone]
· Detroit Dog Rescue [Official]