'Human safety issue': Maple West residents feel terrorized by stray dogs as attack reports rise

Shannon Ryan Image
Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Meyerland residents asking for help with packs of violent dogs
Meyerland residents are fearful of stray dogs in their community after several attacks have been reported in their southwest Houston neighborhood.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Maple West residents told ABC13 packs of dogs are terrorizing them, and they haven't been able to get the city to stop them.

Jerry Bell lives off of Braeswood Boulevard, where reports show there have been six incidents involving dogs requiring a response from BARC, the City of Houston's municipal animal shelter, from October 2022 to May 2023.

Bell shared doorbell security camera footage with ABC13 that captured a pack of dogs killing a cat in his driveway.

"Just mauling it," he explained.

Nearby on Cheena Drive, 11 incidents were reported within the same timeframe, and Creekbend Drive had 13. Documents show some of those incidents were bites involving humans.

Bell uses a walker, and his wife uses a wheelchair. The couple would likely struggle to get away from the dogs if necessary. This is something their daughter, who is also their caretaker, said she is concerned about. Their daughter asked ABC13 not to share her name.

"I'm helping disabled people, and when it takes time to get into the car, I'm afraid these dogs are gonna come up the driveway," she said.

She said she had contacted the city at least 10 times since the pack first appeared in the family's yard last summer.

"It's a human safety issue," she said.

The city's data shows there have been nearly 2,560 dog bites in Houston each year since 2018. From 2021 to 2022, stray pick-ups jumped nearly 30%.

This month, the U.S. Postal Service released its annual report on dog attacks. The city ranked No. 1 from 2017 to 2020, No. 2 in 2021, and once again, topped the list in 2022 with 57 bites.

"I think they need to do something, like hire more officers," Bell's daughter said. "That's very scary."

BARC is currently four officers short. It has a budget of almost half that of San Antonio's. As of July 1, 2022, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated San Antonio had a population of 1,472,909 and Houston 2,302,878.

In a statement, a BARC spokesperson said the entity "has limited resources and responds to requests for service based upon the severity of the situation, which is why we prioritize our calls. We will always answer requests that involve a human/animal interaction first and foremost (dog bite, dog attack, aggressive dog towards people). We also respond to animal cruelty and injured animals."

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