Roughly 50,000 stray dogs are roaming the streets and empty homes of devastated Detroit that is overwhelmed in its ability to find them homes.
As the human population dwindles in Detroit, packs of wild dogs have taken their place. Dens with as many as 20 dogs have been found in boarded up homes in a community of 700,000 that had once been 1.8 million people.
Amanda Arrington of the Humane Society of the United States believes the number of strays in Detroit signals a humanitarian crisis. When she visited the city in October she stated:
“It was almost post-apocalyptic, where there are no businesses, nothing except people in houses and dogs running around…The suffering of animals goes hand in hand with the suffering of people.”
More often than not, pet owners will leave behind dogs hoping neighbors will care for them. Those dogs then take to the streets and reproduce. Most of the packs roam around a female in heat, and cannot be managed by the ever decreasing police force. On top of that, the 70,000 vacant buildings provide shelter for the strays, some who are chained to ward off thieves.
Pounds stopped accepting more animals because the city hadn’t paid the service that hauls away euthanized animals for cremation. Freezers were packed with carcasses and pens were full until the bill was settled.
Mail to some areas have had to be temporarily halted due to the number of aggressive dogs, and more than 25 mail carriers were bitten by dogs in Detroit from October through July. Some carriers keep pepper spray on their person to use on the swarms of canines.
The worst part is that many of the strays have owners who let them out and back in at the end of the day. However, with the lack of manpower it’s near impossible to stop owners from just letting their dogs run wild.
Some nonprofits are taking the time to re-educate dog owners on proper care, but with the lack of staff the battle has just barely begun.
What do you think can be done to help the stray dogs in Detroit? Tell us your ideas in the comments down below!