Nightly News | May 10, 2011
>>> finally tonight, with the economy in the tank lately, few cities have had it worse than detroit . the proud motor city where the population is actually shrinking with entire neighborhoods left abandoned. it's hard enough for the people left there to fend for themselves, but what about those they leave behind with no voice of their own? now some folks are trying to change that and making a difference in the motor city . our report from nbc's kevin tibbles.
>> reporter: it's a hard and dangerous existence for man's best friend in the motor city . keeping an eye out for strays is dan carlisle. a local rap artist who goes by the name of hush.
>> this is the streets of detroit , man. you know? it's rough out here. i mean, it's rough out here for citizens.
>> reporter: while the people population of detroit has plummeted from 2 million in the 1950s to just 700,000 today, the stray dog population has skyrocketed.
>> you see these poor creatures that don't have a voice of their own and no one to help them.
>> reporter: when times get tough and families flee, the pet is often left behind . today in detroit there are an estimated 50,000 stray dogs on the street.
>> it makes me mad. and you know, it makes you sad.
>> what's your 20 now?
>> reporter: hush grew up on these streets.
>> whatever came this way?
>> reporter: and by starting the detroit dog rescue, he and his crew work to give strays a second chance.
>> yeah. he's going to be fine.
>> reporter: with almost military precision, volunteers patrol where dogs occupy abandoned homes and scrounge in packs for survival. always hungry, often sick and frightened.
>> when i look at a dog's face and i just -- i look in its eyes, i feel something. i need to do something. i can't walk away.
>> reporter: the city of detroit 's animal control says it euthanizes 81% of dogs because its shelters are full. detroit dog rescue seeks to find the dogs new homes and wants to build a no-kill shelter. so far this year dozens have been spared. and when there is an owner --
>> you've got to find a way to --
>> reporter: -- they're politely asked to spay or neuter.
>> when a dog comes up to me and he puts his head down and he just rolls over and just submits to you, it's like please, like you know --
>> reporter: help.
>> reporter: in a city struggling to put itself right, hush says some of the most vulnerable inhabitants should never be left alone to fend for themselves. kevin tibbles, nbc news, detroit .