Detroit goes to the dogs

As the human exodus from bankrupt Detroit picks up speed, packs of feral dogs are overrunning the city’s streets and abandoned buildings.

Bloomberg reports that as many as 50,000 canines prowl through the Motor City’s darkened roads and condemned houses, causing serious problems for the few people that remain.

“It was almost post-apocalyptic,” said Amanda Arrington of the Humane Society, who visited the city last October. “There are no businesses, nothing except people in houses and dogs running around.”

Animal control personnel are hamstrung by the city’s shoestring budget, and overcrowded shelters are forced to euthanize more than 70 percent of the dogs brought in.

As dog owners abandon Detroit, many leave their canine companions to fend for themselves. The animals often form packs around a female in heat, and then go looking for trouble.

One police officer told a story about a pack of 20 pooches found in the flooded basement of an abandoned home.

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

The basement initially flooded after thieves hacked out the water pipes.

The threat of dog attacks have forced the Postal Service to temporarily halt delivery in certain neighborhoods. One mail carrier recalled using clouds of pepper spray to disperse swarms of small but savage hounds.

“It’s like Chihuahuaville,” she said.

One woman was attacked four months ago by two strays while sitting on her porch. The animals tore off the woman’s scalp during the assault.

Detroit’s problems extend beyond their canine infestation. The city declared bankruptcy last July, possesses over $18 billion in long-term debt and has run up a deficit of nearly $400 million this year.

The city lost 237,000 residents between 2000 and 2010, falling to 713,000 from its one-time high of 1.8 million people.

“The suffering of animals goes hand in hand with the suffering of people,” Arrington said.

But at least one Michigan dog managed to escape the state’s animal nightmare. The Obama family purchased a new Portuguese water dog, named “Sunny,” from a Michigan breeder earlier this week.

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