Hey, no one ever said Detroit was known for its math skills. A few months after Bloomberg frightened the world with terrifying statistics about 50,000 wild dogs roaming the streets of the Motor City, it turns out that number may be drastically less.
The World Animal Awareness Society, a nonprofit based in Ann Arbor, has been collecting data in Detroit for three years and releases some statistics today suggesting that on any given day, there may be less than 3,000 dogs roaming the streets. I'll emphasize "suggesting" heavily; there's no accurate way, in my opinion, to count every single stray dog in any city.
Now 3,000 is still a lot of dogs and something we shouldn't be proud of, but it's a hell of a lot less than the 50,000 figure being thrown around not too long ago. WAAS came to its figure with on-the-ground observations, weeding out "loose" dogs from dogs that are just peeing in their owner's front yard but not on a leash while doing so.
WAAS also noted that it saw few packs of feral dogs and that most strays were at one point cared for in a home. Many dogs, WAAS says, were used for fighting and being kept in abandoned homes.
Personal note: I've been keeping track of how many stray dogs I've seen since the 50,000 flap, and I've still seen around 10 over the last few months (never seen a pack, but I did see two with collars that were obviously traveling together and lost from the same home), some more than once. I still see way more cats than dogs, though.
You can read the full report here.