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Chester, this is a very valid concern. My Grandfather is buried in one of the older cemeteries that we visit in a very bad area of Detroit. While one starving dog can be a problem, they tend to run in packs of at least three (the largest I’ve seen was over ten). Pit bulls are the most prevalent breed, but there are literally all kinds. You see them often, and we have rules that are critical to staying safe:

1) Driving our vehicle right to the site, and remaining very aware of the surroundings. The car is never more than thirty feet away.

2) ALWAYS being armed. That is non-negotiable: my Grandmother is not allowed to visit the site without a CPL-carrying family member. The dogs are quiet, and can easily outrun an adult.

That being said, it’s pretty awful seeing them. Some packs are vicious, but sometimes big dirty mutts run up wagging and begging for food while I’m sitting in the car. I can’t say no to a dog, but have to be extremely cautious as well: their temperaments can change in a second. We’ll drive out of the cemetery onto a side street (the dogs usually follow) and toss them any food we have in the car. If its a single dog that I feel confident about, I have a friend who owns a “Bully Breed” rehabilitation that I call. If she has room, the dog gets a ride to her facility. So far I haven’t been bitten, and I’ll readily admit that has been a combination of being a fairly good judge of dog behavior and pure luck.

It absolutely sucks that we live in a society where this happens. My opinion is that all Detroiters should be required to have a permit to own an animal, and part of the process of getting that permit is to make sure the animal is spayed or neutered, and micro chipped. If someone moves and leaves an animal (or throws it out in the cold), they should be brought up on animal abuse charges. We currently have two in our house that are “Left Behinds”: cats that were left out in the winter after their owners moved, and we found them freezing and starving to death. Eventually we’ll add a couple of dogs to this duo of happy freeloaders, and they will be Detroit Dogs for sure.