Detroit — More than 5,000 people and their four-legged friends made their way through the streets of Detroit on Sunday morning as part of the 4th Annual Mega March for Animals.
The parade of dogs and their owners began at Hart Plaza, scampered up Woodward and glimpsed the Detroit RiverWalk before returning to Jefferson. Halted traffic looked on.
The event, held by the Michigan Humane Society, raised more than $300,000, said Jenny Robertson, spokeswoman for the agency.
The total will help change the lives of over 2,500 animals, she said, through sheltering, adoption, emergency rescue and abuse investigation.
“Today was a very critical day for us and we could not be more thrilled with the turnout,” Robertson said.
Dogs large and small could be seen on leashes, from Old English sheepdogs and Newfoundlands to retrievers and chihuahuas. Faced with the fall morning chill, pets and people alike were bundled in jackets, T-shirts and hooded sweaters. Cats, too, were spotted, riding in pet strollers.
Animal shelters in the region report higher numbers of abandoned pets in recent years, likely because of the recession.
“This is why we need to raise money and come out and help,” said Garrah Foy, 32, of Canton Township. Foy, who works as a volunteer at the Dearborn Animal Shelter, had her 3-year-old Pekingese-Shih Tzu with her Sunday.
Evelyn Watson, 43, walked, too, alongside Bailey, a Yorkshire terrier in a pink sweatshirt, pattering to keep pace.
Watson raised $200 in advance of the event, collecting donations from friends and co-workers at the Sam’s Club in Southfield where she works as a hi-lo driver.
“I love animals,” said Watson of Detroit.
She said she was motivated knowing that just $120 can save a homeless animal, figures cited by the Humane Society.
“I figure I can help a dog and a half,” Watson said.