HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A series of violent dog attacks in the Houston area has residents fearing for their safety.
"You (got to) carry a gun. And not for the two-legged creatures. The four-legged creatures," Jim Carroll, who lives in the Greater East End, said.
On Monday, July 18, 71-year-old Freddie Garcia was mauled to death by a pack of seven pit bulls in Fort Bend County.
The next night, a 16-year-old refugee from Egypt was hit and killed by a car in Alief while he was running away from a dog.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in that case.
Two days later, a Houston police officer was bitten in the leg while responding to a vicious dog call.
These instances have taken place all over, but even within city limits, Houston has seen 1,283 reported dog bites since the start of 2022.
The city has added four new animal enforcement officers since the start of the pandemic.
"A lot of people going back to work or who were hit financially hard were either trying to turn in their pets or they might, unfortunately, been turning them loose," explained Cory Stottlemyer, a spokesperson for BARC Animal Shelter.
The zip codes for reported dog bites don't paint a full picture, because many are recorded at the Houston Police Department's headquarters. Although, zip codes show where the problem areas are: north Houston and the Greater East End.
County records show the most dangerous dog declarations are from the northwest side.
"I've seen packs of three or four dogs chasing kids coming from school," Carroll said. "Chasing people on bikes. The mail carrier won't deliver mail when your dog is out. So, it's getting ridiculous."