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By Renee Summers
Telegram Reporter 

Detroit Dog Rescue Improving the City's Image, Four Legs at a Time


Dustin Banooni, Jesse Miller, and Bridget Maniere of Detroit Dog Rescue all enjoy helping the city cast off the dog population

It's no secret that Detroit has a stray dog problem. Over the past 10 years, numerous media outlets have proclaimed the stray dog issue as a symptom of a city in crisis. When the city refused access to a network television program that intended to document the problem, a small group of animal lovers got together and founded Detroit Dog Rescue in 2011. The goal was to save the dogs and make a change in the city.

In 2014, Detroit Dog Rescue (DDR) opened its current shelter on the east side of Detroit. There, the organization can house up to 24 dogs, and uses this facility for its behavioral cases in need of enrichment and socialization. In 2015 the DDR was officially licensed to operate the first no-kill shelter in Detroit.

Dustin Banooni is DDR's Programs Coordinator. He says the organization's main focus is rescue. They accomplish this by picking up strays and surrendered dogs at local animal shelters and off the streets. All dogs receive assessment and veterinary care. DDR partners with Detroit Animal Care and Control as well, to relieve some of the city's overwhelming dog population at its shelters.

Banooni says the organization has in its care between 80 and 100 dogs at any given time. The dogs are either housed in DDR's east side shelter, a partnering shelter, or in foster care.

As Programs Coordinator, Banooni is on the front lines of community outreach. DDR currently assists Detroit residents who want to keep their pets but just need a helping hand with food and supplies. DDR also provides education and information and helps by providing free spaying and neutering to check the problem of pet overpopulation. "Outreach is really enjoyable because you get to see the smile on people's faces," Banooni says. "You get to get closer with actual residents of the city and make a real difference."

While adoption events hosted by DDR welcome anyone from across southeast Michigan, at this time outreach assistance is available to Detroit residents only. "Detroit is where the main problem is, especially with the strays," explains Banooni. "We're focusing on making sure we can fix Detroit first, and move on from there."

Most dogs who are fostered by a family eventually get adopted into a forever home.

While DDR always welcomes donations and volunteers, Banooni says one of the best ways to help the dogs that DDR saves is to become a foster parent to a rescued dog. DDR will take of veterinary bills and supplies, foster families merely provide a home for the dog. While in foster care, a dog learns how a

household works and what is expected of him or her. Banooni says some dogs that spend 22 hours each day in a kennel never get to experience what simple ordinary things such as stairs or sliding glass doors are. An in-home experience prior to adoption can make any dog more adoptable. Information on DDR, its mission, and how to help can be found at Forms for volunteering, fostering and adopting dogs can be found at the website also, along with the organization's wish list. DDR has a Facebook page at


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