- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 21, 2013

As many as 50,000 stray dogs roam the streets and vacant homes of bankrupt Detroit, as many residents flee the once-booming metropolis.

The city has shrank from 1.8 million to about 700,000 and packs of as many as 20 dogs have been found in boarded-up buildings of former residents, Bloomberg reported. There are as many as 70,000 abandoned buildings for dogs and other animals to make their home.

Officer Lapez Moore, 30, recalled a pack splashing away in a basement that flooded when thieves ripped out water pipes.

“The dogs were having a pool party,” the officer said. “We went in and fished them out.”

Stray dogs are literally terrorizing the city as the ratio of humans to animals continues to balance out. Strays have killed pets, bitten mail carriers and clogged the animal shelter, where more than 70 percent are euthanized, Bloomberg reported.

Most strays are pets that roam, often in packs that form around a female in heat, said Harry Ward, head of animal control. Few are true feral dogs that have had no human contact.

SEE ALSO: Creditors face deadline in Detroit bankruptcy case

Mr. Ward has only four officers to cover Detroit seven days a week, 11 fewer than when he took command in 2008. He has one dog-bite investigator, down from three, Bloomberg said.

Detroit declared the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history last month.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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