Achieving Balance and Harmony


Anonymous Donor Funds Detroit’s First No-Kill Animal Shelter

By Nicole Pajer

Thanks to a generous $1.5 million donation from an anonymous woman in California, Detroit will receive its first no-kill animal shelter. The contribution was made to Detroit Dog Rescue, an organization founded nine years ago by TV producer Monica Martino and local hip-hop artist Daniel (Hush) Carlisle. The canine-loving duo started DDR after the city passed on their reality TV series idea, a show that would have documented their rehabilitation of stray dogs from the streets of Detroit.

Martino and Carlisle have personally rehabbed hundreds of dogs since founding DDR, but it was one attempted rescue story that caught the media’s attention. Last November, Ace, an emaciated pit bull found outside of a hardware store, was picked up by Detroit Animal Control. DDR relentlessly tried to get the dog released from the pound and saved from being automatically put to sleep per a city ordinance pertaining to stray pit bull and pit bull mixes. The canine activists filed a temporary restraining order to prevent Ace from being euthanized after the state mandated a five-day holding period to allow his owners to surface. Despite a plethora of emails from as far away as Norway and Germany, and the best efforts of area rescue groups, Ace was eventually euthanized.

The story caught the attention of animal lovers across the globe and deeply touched the California-based woman who sent DDR the $1.5 million donation in the form of stock options. Martino and Carlisle plan to use the funds to construct a no-kill shelter in Detroit, an area greatly in need of once.

According to a 2010 study by the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance, Detroit ranks amongst the highest in the number of stray dogs and cats euthanized per year. In addition, DDR estimates that over 50,000 stray dogs run the streets of Detroit and the majority are pit bull and pit bull mixes.

Martino, CEO and co-founder of Detroit Dog Rescue, says that the donation to build the no-kill shelter is just the beginning. “While Hush and I were working on the streets of Detroit, we saw firsthand the true scope and scale of the stray dog situation. This problem in Detroit is an epidemic and the system that is in place to control it is broken.”

The DDR founders believe that Detroit’s first no-kill shelter will not only serve as a symbol of hope and inspiration but will also help facilitate a seismic shift in the way that people look at dogs. “We can change the way people think about their animals,” Martino explains.

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