Residents take stray dog complaints to leaders

Dozens of Dallas residents tired of loose dogs in their neighborhoods showed up at city hall to push for changes on Wednesday.

The push comes at the same time city leaders learned Dallas Animal Services had the budget to hire more control officers, but failed to do so.

In north Oak Cliff, a person was attacked by a dog on Wednesday, making it the third dog attack within two weeks.

As soon as the victim, Polo Rodriguez, got out of the hospital, he headed straight to city hall, where the Director of Animal Services was in the hot seat for lacking a plan and leaving five animal control officer positions empty.

Rodriguez does not know how he would have survived the pit bull attack Wednesday morning if a neighbor had not been there to rescue him.

“It was extremely frightening,” he said. “I just couldn't get that dog away."

Bandages cover the fresh wounds on his arm.

“They did do stitches,” he said.

His neighbor snapped photos of the loose pit bull on Woodlawn in Oak Cliff after the attack.

Another man who lives down the street, Charlie Howell, says he was also attacked by a pit bull a few weeks ago.

“Took a bite to my cheek, but I've healed up well,” said Howell. “What I'm most thankful for is the dog did not get ahold of my wife."

Howell also went to city hall on Wednesday, along with dozens of other residents concerned they could be next.

The Director of Animal Services laid out a plan to hire nine more employees, but council member Scott Griggs barked at her for why five animal control officer positions are still empty from a year ago.

“This year, you want even more resources, but you haven't been able to do what we asked last year,” said Griggs. “What is the issue? Why can't we hire these animal control officers?"

The answer: there are so many employees leaving that D.A.S. can’t keep up, and perhaps the pay needs to be better.

Dallas Animal Services pointed out that the number of people calling them about problems actually decreased last year.       

But council members say their call volume has increased.

“It amazed me that you said that the calls were decreasing,” said Councilman Erik Wilson.

Griggs said the city manager needs a better plan.

“Sometimes a bad plan is better than no plan,” said Griggs.

The D.A.S. director agreed.

“We've got to have the boots on the ground, to your point,” said Judy Jones, Director of Dallas Animal Services.

Dallas residents hope the problem gets under control.

The council directed the city to have an outline of a plan in two weeks. The plan will also address how to decrease response times and crack down on owners of loose dogs plaguing neighborhoods.