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Backstory

In my world , top scientists genetically engineer a type of Wild Dog with intelligence on par with 8 year olds ( here is a scale of reference ) ,the bite strength of grey wolves, 2.5 inch canines, a high resistance to diseases such as rabies and canine distemper, and the ability to climb. These scientists release 5000 of these highly social animals into Detroit, where they separate into 5 super-packs.

After a while, a meeting is held between the packs, and it is decided that they will work together to make this city a home of their own, without a human presence. They then populate various abandoned buildings and stadiums and increase their population as quickly as possible, doubling their adult population each year. After this, they proceed to inhabit more and more abandoned buildings, until there are almost none left. While this is going on, they start to become more and more aggressive towards humans, killing and eating pets, and killing (and consuming) lone humans in the night. They continue their spiral into aggression until it is ten times more likely to be killed by a wild dog in the night than human.

As animal control gets increasingly involved, they change their game. They post lookouts around the city to monitor human activity, and report the locations bait traps are placed. The wild dogs even go as far as releasing rats into the homes and headquarters of those who attack them, causing widespread rat infestations and destroying their equipment, and targeting them and their family members when they are off work. After three years, they've created a well established surveillance network and increased their population from 5,000 to 30,000. They finally embark on their final task: depopulation. Due to their excellent team work, they turn the once great city of Detroit into a complete ghost town dominated by its new masters: Wild Dogs.


My question is: is there any way that canids could substantially decrease the population of a city in an economic and infrastructural state such as that of Detroit by decreasing the standard of living or manually eliminating the population?

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    $\begingroup$ So... Rise of the Planet of the Dogs? $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre May 31 '16 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I think it is substantially better framed. You're giving us the facts of what the dogs are up to, and asking to fill in some gaps. Some might argue that there's many different ways in which the dogs might react, and that there's no good way to determine which action would be "better", thus making it opinion based, but realistically, most questions on this site have some element of that. Retracting close vote. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jun 1 '16 at 3:26
  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to know how you'd imagine these dogs would fare against a NRA nut. $\endgroup$ – Aron Jun 1 '16 at 4:45
  • $\begingroup$ they will endup being hot-dogs meat. $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Jun 2 '16 at 5:15
  • $\begingroup$ Going by the weight of the average American Gray Wolf times 5000 you get 180.000 kg of wolf. Accelerate them fast enough and they can really mess Detroit up. But I don't know the average density of Canis Lupus Lupus, so I can't really calculate for you how fast they need to go to "decrease the standard of living in Detroit (Hah!)". $\endgroup$ – Thomas Jacobs Jun 6 '16 at 17:51
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The area of Detroit is 370 square km. Releasing five thousand wolves (for all intents and purposes) in that metropolitan area will mean that there's 13.5 wolves per every square km.

Right off the bat not only are people going to notice and completely freak out, but the density of the animal population will mean that they will not have enough food to eat unless they immediately start hunting people down, and/or start raiding stores for supplies (keep in mind that they can't operate complicated mechanisms, or open cans, etc. so they are severely restricted in the food they can access compared to a human being).

Not only will animal control get involved immediately, but the police will as well. The authorities will probably attempt to capture the animals at first, but as incidents start resulting in horrifying injuries and death they will resort to lethal force. Not only that, but there are 8100 guns legally registered in the city, and God only knows how many illegal ones. Many citizens will take it upon themselves to end the unexplainable plague of wolves which has descended upon their streets.

Now, guns and all that aside, Detroit has a population of almost 700K people. That's 140 people per wolf. If even half of them are physically capable of defending themselves, the wolves are screwed. Humanity subdued the planet using spears, swords, and bows, not firearms. These wolves are very smart, but a mob armed with various blunt, edged, or sharpened implements will make short work of them.

Last but not least, once the situation is seen as out of control not only will the city probably take special action such as arming neighborhood watch type groups, and sending out armed, roving extermination units, but the national guard might get involved as well, in which case good luck.

Honestly, there is simply no way in which wolves - even very smart ones - could really take humanity on. Could they cause death and carnage? Damage? Panic? Sure. Would they win? Heck no.

Their best bet for survival is to initiate talks with the government, expose the scientists, and secure the help and cooperation of animal right's groups to protect them.

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    $\begingroup$ "Honestly, there is simply no way in which wolves - even very smart ones - could really take humanity on." This. Not to mention that while "intelligence on par with 8 year olds" is very smart for an animal... it's not smart compared to a population of hundreds of thousands of adult humans. The animals are outnumbered, outgunned, and outsmarted. There's just no way they could win without outside help. $\endgroup$ – Beofett Jun 1 '16 at 17:53
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    $\begingroup$ They might be able to survive if they're good at hiding, don't attack anybody, and tactically disrupt the flow of garbage disposal. Chennai is home to 170,000 street dogs, with a population around five times that of Detroit, who subsist mostly on garbage. They survive despite tens of thousands being exterminated every year, because dogs can crank out a ton of babies. $\endgroup$ – ckersch Jun 1 '16 at 22:21
  • $\begingroup$ and even if the dogs arrived with overwhelming numbers more than 30 to 1 odds (over 20 million) and drove all the people out, we wouldn't let them keep the city. A force large enough to drive out the populous would be viewed as a serous threat and more powerful attacks like napalm or chemical attacks would be used to kill them off. $\endgroup$ – sdrawkcabdear Jun 2 '16 at 0:34
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In all likelihood, they fail miserably. Too many things to be done all at the same time, and humanity tends to not like losing. That being said....

In order for it to work, they have to do it fast enough that humanity doesn't have a way to fight back, or at least make it not worthwhile to fight back. The problem, of course, is that they're working from a vast technological deficit. Detroit can quickly call for help if given the chance. Ultimately though, it starts to look like a standard fast-infiltration mission.

They'd need to plan simultaneous attacks, preferably at night, on the political system, emergency services, and communication networks. Cut power to cell towers so that the humans' communication to the outside world is reduced (try to get the internet down, but that's a lot harder); decimate the emergency services (particularly the command structure) to reduce their immediate ability to do damage control; remove the politicians so that it takes longer to get the governor to send in the National Guard.

Once the communications, emergency services, and politicians are down, the dogs have bought themselves a day or two at most. They have to make the most of it. As soon as people start waking up in the morning, start causing as much fear and panic as possible. That should be easy enough, as packs of intelligent wolves roaming the streets would cause anyone to freak. People start panicking, they soon start rioting, and when they realize that the police aren't doing anything the riots start to grow bigger and bigger.

This is where things start to go downhill. There are two ways to empty the city of human life: kill them all, or convince them to leave. As much fear as the dogs can instill in the citizens of Detroit, they're not going to be able to convince everyone to up and leave within a day or two. They're then left with killing the humans. Given the population of Detroit, each dog would need to kill around 100 people, on average (assuming the dog's population has gone up a bit from the original 5000, just to make the math easier). They're vastly outnumbered and lacking in technology. I don't care how hard the dogs can bite, they're done if they get whacked in the head with an aluminum baseball bat.

Supposing they manage to clear the city of inhabitants, the National Guard and/or Army will be showing up eventually. That's where things really get messy. They can't fight the military, so they'd need to basically start a guerrilla campaign, constantly attacking the cleanup crews. Give it enough time, eventually people will start to question whether getting back Detroit is worth so many lives. But it'll take a while.

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  • $\begingroup$ Two words: biological weapons $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jun 1 '16 at 0:05
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    $\begingroup$ That being said, as a member of this site who is well on his way to having quite a bit of rep and badges, I would ask you to read a couple of meta posts which I think are relevant: Should we answer off topic questions & Story Based Close Reason. Also check this out if possible $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jun 1 '16 at 0:11
  • $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM -- yeah, parvo would be an absolute wrecking ball in such a context... $\endgroup$ – Shalvenay Jun 1 '16 at 0:27
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    $\begingroup$ A guerrilla campaign would fail. The dogs don't have a good way to generate food or break down walls. They are also isolated in a contained areas of 370 km^2 that has little naturally occurring food. If you put a large wall or a guards with a clear field of fire around the city you can starve the dogs out. After a few months there would be few left and they would be a small enough threat you could sweep and reenter the city $\endgroup$ – sdrawkcabdear Jun 2 '16 at 0:43
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This may be too silly, but what if there's a law against killing them and animal rights activists get involved. These are smart animals, I'm sure someone would raise an objection. In the legal quagmire, the government orders an evacuation of the city, allowing the dogs to establish a foothold.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site John Ink. There is rarely an answer that is "too silly" if you could expand on how the dogs/wolfs would be able to get the activists on their side while killing people I feel that would improve your answer greatly. Also explain why the Gov would evacuate a city for some somart animals would help $\endgroup$ – Mr.Burns Jun 1 '16 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ They would garnish sympathy just by the fact they look like dogs, and people don't want to hurt them. Maybe there's some youtube video of the cops ganging up on them and overpowering. That's why I thought it may be too silly. It seems like this is more of a thriller, and this answer to the problem wouldn't happen in our real world probably. It'd be more of a commentary on how we let emotions guide us into poor decisions. The statement on the level of intelligence of the dogs: Intelligence is a common factor in society's decisions on which animals are okay to kill. $\endgroup$ – John Ink Jun 2 '16 at 10:19
  • $\begingroup$ Most (if not all) questions on this site wouldnt happen in real life, the questions hasnt been tagged with "reality check" or "(hard)science based" so you can think outside the box a bit. The way you have thought about the answer is good, rather than having the dog/wolfs dismember a whole city you have the humans push themself out due to on reason or another. I have found there is no single right answer to WB, its how you explain it and back it up $\endgroup$ – Mr.Burns Jun 2 '16 at 10:32
  • $\begingroup$ I appreciate your help. $\endgroup$ – John Ink Jun 2 '16 at 10:53
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Your packs are too big, and Detroit is too small, and the dogs will starve if they aren't hunted down.

African wild dogs need about 3 kg of meat per day, and grey wolves about 5 kg per day. Increased brain function requires considerable increased food intake, but let's split the difference and call it 4 kg/day. That implies about 20,000 kg of meat per day for the entire population. Even if you assume the dogs will be able to consume the entire carcasses of their prey, within a day or so all the pets will be gone, and then it's on to humans.

Without leisure on their prey, the dogs will not be able to consume the entirety of an unlucky human, so let's take a rough number of about 50 kg of meat and organs per person. This implies a hunting rate of 400 people per day. You should keep in mind that, while Detroit has what most consider an appalling crime rate, it's less than 300 homicides per year. So you'd start losing more people per day than are ordinarily lost in a year, and this is not the sort of loss rate which will go unnoticed.

With numbers increased to 30,000, the numbers above indicate they need to kill about 2400 people per day. The city proper (143 square miles) only has a population of 680,000, which will last the community about 280 days, and that's if everybody stays put, doesn't fight back, and gets hunted. How likely do you think that is?

Within 3 days a state of emergency will be declared. There will be sightings of the dogs - they must get out to hunt, and do so only in the darkest hours of the night - say, 2 AM to 6 AM. During these hours, the vast majority of folks are safe behind closed doors, so after a few days the pickings will get very slim. There just aren't that many hookers and drug dealers available.

Hollywood likes to show remorseless night hunters making silent kills, but it generally doesn't work that way. People getting killed by dogs will scream bloody murder. This will alert the neighbors, at least a few of whom will dial 911. The existence of blood pools and the occasional scrap of clothing and flesh will be a dead giveaway that something very, very bad is going on. The dogs simply will not be able to hide their presence for a year while they expand to 30,000. But let's say they somehow do.

Once discovered, the dogs are in a very bad situation. Humans have this tendency to gang up on any perceived threat. Humans ganging up on a threat while carrying automatic weapons (the military will get called in rather quickly) are very bad news. The dogs may well be good at hiding during the day, and for a few weeks or perhaps months would be a real threat to civilians, but ultimately they would starve. With people either fleeing the city or barricading themselves in at night there is simply nothing to eat. 8-year-old intelligence does not imply an attention span greater than an 8-year-old, so there is no reason to invoke some exceptional strategic planning abilities.

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  • $\begingroup$ 5 kg of meat per wolf per day sounds high. Maybe if you include all the parts of the prey that are not meat in the calculation? In either case, could you provide a source for those numbers? It would, I think, improve your answer, even if the specific figure isn't critical for the ultimate conclusion. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jun 3 '16 at 9:54
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After thinking about it for a hour (or two.... I don't have a problem, okay?) There are only two way I see this happening.

  1. Disease, similar to rats in the black plague, perhaps these disease immune dogs breed a super-bug by accident this disease would not kill them but would kill people who get near them and catch it. Marked as a major biohazard, Detroit may be evacuated (after all it isn't the most thriving city).
  2. The people don't care. Detroit is a dying city, let's face it. enter image description here

The last few people of this once great city might just say "Really! Super-dogs! that's it." After all if it was me, I would just move.

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  • $\begingroup$ Apathy is killing Detroit faster than thousands of wolves ever could. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Jacobs Jun 7 '16 at 15:30
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How could a 8 year old outplay a grownup and use rats to there advantage, also i don't think they could manage themself. Mabey if they had the intelligence and knowledge of a 15 year old.

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The best option for the dogs is to not kill anybody.

The humans of Detroit are both the single greatest threat to the dogs and the single biggest source of food. IF they efficiently scavenge, the garbage produced by the city of Detroit is likely sufficient to feed all of the dogs without resorting to killing anybody. However, the moment they decide to get violent, the dogs will be exterminated. Humans have spent tens of thousands of years becoming experts at killing every other type of animal on the planet. We're very good at it.

However, if the dogs are sufficiently unobtrusive, it's likely that they'll be able to survive and prosper alongside humans in Detroit. IF the dogs spend their time hiding in abandoned buildings by day and coming out only at night to efficiently scavenge for food, humans will likely focus their efforts on more pressing issues. If the population of intelligent dogs gets too high, rather than killing pets or humans, they should simply move to other cities.

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I think you failed to realize something: human once was a wild animal and they evolved to outfight animals. And guess which animal we are especially designed for?
That's right. Hyena, Wild Dogs, Wolves as early Homo were scavengers competing for carcasses. If you stay firm on your feet, those can't really kill you. If you have a stick, you're a Terminator.

But their still is hope. As you engineered dogs, I guess it should be easy to engineer a bacteria.
Modify Yersinia pestis so that they adapt to dog and human fleas. Spread infected dogs. Wait.

It will take several days for human to understand what hit them. And a rather natural reaction will be to run away.

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