DETROIT, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- A Michigan State University researcher has estimated that 7,500 stray dogs and 18,000 cats are roaming the city of Detroit.
MSU political science professor Laura Reese completed the research after receiving 75 responses from non-profit animal welfare agencies in the city, the Detroit News reported.
Her findings indicate that there are 54 stray dogs and 129 stray cats per square mile.
Previous estimates of stray dogs have ranged from 3,000 to 50,000.
"It's a sign of disorder in the community," Reese said. "For the city and its residents to move forward and get out of the current crisis, we need to get out of these disorder issues, whether it's abandoned buildings or roaming animals. Psychologically, it does not help the city move forward."
Reese suggested the city partner with the non-profit animal rights groups to handle the problem.
Detroit Police Department spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said the animal control division has nine employees, and that the department was never operating at its full capacity.
"Last year, we had 703 dog bites and we had one investigator doing all that work," said Woody. "The upswing to all of this is we are recognizing the need for the additional manpower in that area."