Residents worried about wild dogs

September 18, 2009 5:50:20 PM PDT
There's a warning for people who live in two northeast Houston neighborhoods. There are packs of wild dogs roaming around the area, threatening pets and people. One neighborhood is the Woodland Heights and the other is near I-45 and Beltway 8. Homeowners say the dogs are getting too aggressive. Residents in the area say not enough is being done. When Eyewitness News started making calls on Monday, animal control officials put a trap out. Since then, seven dogs have already been captured.

"My worst fear is that they're eventually going to get a child," said resident Rhonda Summerlin.

Summerlin says it's been a problem her aunt has reported to animal control for at least six months -- wild dogs terrorizing her north Houston neighborhood.

"Most of the response she'd get is, you have to catch them yourself and then we'll come pick them up," Summerlin recalled.

City of Houston Spokesperson Pat Trahan explained, "It's not uncommon for us to tell people, hey, can you help us corral an animal."

But Doris Kirk is 82 years old, and afraid of the dogs.

She said, "I had to board up the front of my front porch to keep them off of it and out of my garage. I can't live like that."

Kirk says the packs of dogs are so wicked they mauled and killed her cat, White Sox, right in her front yard.

"He couldn't get to a safe place and they killed him. Those dogs killed him," Kirk said.

Down the street, the same thing happened to Robert Philpot's cat.

"They had the cat trapped," he said. "I came out and ran them off, but the cat died."

The same problem is plaguing people in the Woodland Heights neighborhood, so much that warning signs are posted.

Resident Samuel Baker said, "I'm going to definitely pay more attention, that's for sure."

The city says it's doing the best it can to keep up with the growing problem.

"We get tens of thousands of animals that we have to pick up," Trahan said.

Nothing will bring White Sox back to Doris Kirk. But she says she wants pet owners and animal control to take swift action to prevent this from happening again.

"I just want to see them taken off the streets, where they won't be so dangerous to everybody," Kirk said.

The dogs that have been caught have not been quarantined because no one has identified a particular dog to be responsible for a bite or specific aggressive behavior. The dogs are now being assessed for health, temperament and adoptability.

If you spot a dog roaming around in your neighborhood, don't approach it. City officials say you can either call animal control at 713-229-7300, or you can call 311, and the city's animal shelter will be notified.

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