Detroit's Stray Dog Epidemic: 50,000 Or More Roam The City | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Detroit's Stray Dog Epidemic: 50,000 Or More Roam The City

At first, we didn't believe this new report from Bloomberg News could be true:

"As many as 50,000 stray dogs roam the streets and vacant homes of bankrupt Detroit, replacing residents, menacing humans who remain and overwhelming the city's ability to find them homes or peaceful deaths."

But it seems that number isn't so far-fetched.

-- NBC-TV's The Today Show on March 1, 2011: TV producer/animal advocate Monica Martino of Detroit Dog Rescue says "there are at least 50,000 [stray] dogs and experts out here have put that number closer to 100,000."

-- The Associated Press, in a March 9, 2012, YouTube video: "Detroit is facing a stray dog epidemic. Tens of thousands of strays roam the city's streets, byproducts of the city's crushing poverty."

-- Rolling Stone on March 20, 2012: "Estimates vary, but groups place the number of strays in the city at anywhere between 20,000 and 50,000."

Bloomberg's story has some startling passages:

-- "Dens of as many as 20 canines have been found in boarded-up homes in the community of about 700,000 that once pulsed with 1.8 million people."

-- "Strays have killed pets, bitten mail carriers and clogged the animal shelter, where more than 70 percent are euthanized. "

-- Four animal control officers "cover the 139-square-mile city." That's 11 fewer than in 2008.

-- "Pit bulls and breeds mixed with them dominate Detroit's stray population because of widespread dog fighting."

-- "Mail carrier Catherine Guzik told of using pepper spray on swarms of tiny, ferocious dogs in a southwest Detroit neighborhood. 'It's like Chihuahuaville,' Guzik said as she walked her route."

There isn't much the bankrupt city can do at this point, so private groups are trying to step in. According to The Oakland Press, the Detroit Area Rescue Team — which for years has focused on helping poor people — is teaming up with Detroit Dog Rescue "to provide stray dogs with supplies and eventually create a no kill animal shelter."

The city's dog problem is filtering into popular culture too. New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley notes that the new AMC TV series Low Winter Sun is set in a Detroit that "is a fetid no man's land that law-abiding citizens fled long ago, leaving whole blocks abandoned, houses boarded over and feral dogs roaming empty streets."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Oh, 'Boyhood!' Linklater's Cinematic Stunt Pays Off

Richard Linklater's new film took 12 years to make and tracks the actual youth and adolescence of its lead actor. Critic Bob Mondello says Boyhood is a rich and resonant portrait of real life.
NPR

If Exercise Is Work, Mindless Snacking May Follow

The idea that sacrificing at the gym entitles us to a reward seems to be embedded in our collective thinking. Researchers set out to test how this affects how we eat after a workout.
NPR

Week In Politics: Israel And Immigration

Regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and David Brooks of The New York Times, discuss the conflict in the Gaza Strip and President Obama's request of emergency immigration funds.
NPR

Friday Feline Fun: A Ranking Of The Most Famous Internet Cats

Forget the Forbes Celebrity 100. This is the Friskies 50 — the new definitive guide of the most influential cats on the Internet. The list is based on a measure of the cats' social media reach.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.