TYLER (KYTX) - Neighbors in North Tyler say they're fed up with stray dogs roaming their streets and getting into their yards. They say the problem has only gotten worse over the years. And, they don't feel like they're getting the help they need from animal control.
NET Health says the phone is constantly ringing with animal complaints. In fact, it's gotten more than 4,000 of them since the first of the year. When it does get these calls, NET Health says animal control puts out traps with bait to try to catch these stray dogs. And, that's about all they can do, legally.
NET Health says according to its records, the last time it received a complaint from this particular area of North Tyler was about a month ago.
"That's a pit bull there."
Neighbors at the corner of North Confederate and Vance say they're tired of the noise and the mess that stray dogs are causing them.
"The dog is going in people's trash, people's yards, tearing up their flower beds and all that kind of stuff. You have all kinds of dogs in the park running around with the kids in the park. It's getting to be a bad situation."
David McGee says a large female dog is attracting male dogs. And, they seem to have formed somewhat of a pack.
"Everybody in the neighborhood is talking about it. They just don't want to speak out on it."
"Kids over here in the park, scared of them. They come out and bark and keep you up all times of the night."
Neighbor Paul Hall says the dogs have dragged trash- including dirty diapers- right into his front yard.
"We've got dogs running around the neighborhood. Nobody claims them."
But, some neighbors are pointing their fingers at this house, where Walter Caldwell lives.
"They come over here. I wouldn't lie about it. That's about it."
"Do you feed them?"
"Oh, i put something out. I don't want to see them starve."
"Yeah, because some people are saying they're your dogs."
"No, they're wrong."
Neighbors say they don't really care who the dogs belong to, they just want them gone.
"We're having a hard time getting our hands on them." says NET Health director of environmental health, Brenda Elrod.
Elrod says one reason is because the dogs have gotten smart and learned to avoid the traps set up by animal control.
"People don't understand that because it's difficult to see a dog running astray and not want to feed it. I mean, that's just our nature, but it only perpetuates the problem. And, if they feed them, then they're not interested in getting in our trap either because that's the lure we want."
Elrod says controlling the stray dog problem requires an effort from the whole community.
Elrod says they're doing everything they can that's legal to handle the problem, but it's a complaint driven process. She says even though neighbors are talking about it, the last formal complaint NET Health received from this area was on May 22. She says they can't fix the problem unless they know about it.
Elrod says aside from feeding stray dogs, the most important thing you can do is spay and neuter your animals, so they don't continue to multiply and get out of hand. This just creates a repeat problem.
There is also a leash law in the city. You can be ticketed for letting your dogs run loose.