Gut-Check: Fifty Thousand Stray Dogs in Detroit?

In Rolling Stone’s story on the organization calling itself Detroit Dog Rescue, the magazine gives voice to an unattributed estimate that the city of Detroit has 50,000 stray dogs. The author, Mark Binelli, acknowledges the number “seems quite inflated,” but the figure still made it into the article’s headline: “Detroit’s Epidemic of 50,000 Stray Dogs.”

Fifty thousand dogs in a city of 138.8 square miles would mean that the average city block (4.71 acres) would be occupied by 2.65 stray dogs. Obviously some areas of the city have many more strays than others, but does that figure seem believable? Let us know in the comment section.

When we start tossing around estimates in the tens of thousands, I’m reminded of the stories of stray dogs in Bucharest, Romania. In an extreme example a city facing an “epidemic” of stray animals, Bucharest has an estimated 40,000 strays, which caused 13,000 dog bites in 2010. It’s hard to believe that stray dogs are a bigger problem in Detroit than in Bucharest.

(via Curbed Detroit)