And only three animal shelters.
Roughly 50,000 stray dogs are roaming the city of Detroit, reports Bloomberg News today. Many of them spend their days hanging out in abandoned houses and mating like crazy. Occasionally, the dogs bite people and sometimes they eat cats (which might explain why you don't see many reports about Detroit's stray cat problem).
The dogs roam "in packs that form around a female in heat," according to Harry Ward, Detroit's animal control director. Roughly 15,000 of them make their way into three Detroit shelters a year—that comes out 13.6 dogs per shelter per day—thanks in part to the city's four dog catchers and one dog-bite investigator. Seventy percent of these dogs are euthanized.
While Ward says his men are overworked, Detroit's stray problem was put into sharp perspective in July when the city failed to pay the commercial service that transports euthanized dogs from the shelter. As a result, writes Bloomberg's Chris Christoff, "The freezers were packed with carcasses, and pens were full of live animals until the bill was paid."
Mail carriers have reported being attacked (by "swarms" of chihuahuas), and the city reported 903 dog bites last year. Yet according to Ward, these dogs aren't really feral, just unsupervised. That's illegal, but animal rights activists in the city don't expect that to change. “With the city being bankrupt," one person told Christoff, "who’s going to do anything about it?”
Detroit Dog Rescue put together a little video about strays in the city that you can watch below. Fair warning: At the three minute mark, a pitbull eats a cat.