DETROIT -

The American Strays Project kicked off its research initiative Saturday morning in Detroit with a canine survey and treasure hunt.

Volunteers will count and track stray dogs in the City of Detroit for the next few hours to help pin-point over-population issues.

READ: Stray dog problem under international microscope.

Teams of volunteers will fan out across Detroit over two days in search of stray or loose dogs roaming city streets, overgrown fields and in and out of abandoned houses.

The Ann Arbor-based World Animal Awareness Society begins its canine survey Saturday morning.

Filmmaker and executive director Tom McPhee hopes to get some type of accurate count of Detroit's strays which some estimate to be in the thousands.

The survey is part of his American Strays research project, a documentary in syndication on the Internet.

McPhee says an accurate dog count will better help organizations in finding ways to tackle the problem..

READ: Rescuers work to end Detroit's stray dog epidemic.

Volunteers will take photos and use smartphones to count free-roaming dogs. McPhee says teams are not allowed to go onto private property or into any abandoned structures.

No accurate count currently exists of how many stray dogs there are in the 139-square-mile Detroit.

For more information on how you can help visit World Animal Awareness Society on Facebook.