Detriot wild dogs

Flickr user audreyjm529 /

If you count yourself among those who cannot imagine life without your faithful dog by your side, you would have been a pretty rare breed a century or two ago.

That’s when packs of feral dogs were roaming the streets of Detroit.

People lived in fear of rabies, and the dog catcher prowled the streets scooping up the many strays.

Bill Loomis has tracked the history of dogs in Detroit for The Detroit News.

Detroit Dog Rescue / via Facebook

Detroit Dog Rescue say it’s running the first-no kill shelter in the city.

Executive director Kristina Rinaldi says between its shelter and foster programs, they can care for 40 to 60 dogs at a time.  

"There's too many dogs that need our help,” Rinaldi says. “And there's residents out there that need our help as well.

“I mean, every day we get a call from a mother who can't get her child off of the school bus because there's a stray dog on her porch."

Rob Swatski / Flickr

It became a kind of overnight urban legend.

A couple of years ago, Detroit's "50,000 feral dogs" made national headlines, which in turn drew eye rolls from residents sick and tired of seeing their city depicted as an apocalyptic hellscape, especially when that 50,000 number was sketchy at best.

Sarah Cwiek / Personal photo

An animal welfare group says there are far fewer “wild dogs” running Detroit streets than many have suggested.

Detroit has captured national headlines in recent months for its stray dog problem, with some reports estimating the city was home to at least 50,000 dogs roaming the streets.