Monday, June 28, 2010

Woman Afraid to Leave Home Because of Dogs Roaming Neighborhood

From First Coast News

Alma Starling feels like a prisoner in her own home. "I can't stay outside. It's a tough situation," said Starling.
Life just hasn't been the same in her neighborhood along 14th Street East.
"I've lived in this house for 50 years and now I feel like I'm being run out," said Starling.
Starling said she and her dog Gizmo have been terrorized by several stray dogs in recent weeks.
"Keeping me up at night and day barking," said Starling.
Saturday, Starling called police when she saw one of the dogs, which police reports indicate is a pit bull terrier, attack and kill another dog right across the street from her home.
"He wouldn't release him until he was dead," said Starling.
Two days after the attack, that dead dog remained in the same spot. That's because police reports show Animal Control could not respond when they were called by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
"The difficulty we're facing is that we're the biggest city in the U.S. and we have a limited number of officers to cover that area," said Scott Trebatoski, Animal Care and Protective Services Chief.
Trebatoski said because of the budget, there's only one officer on duty on the weekends. That officer can only respond to a prioritized number of calls on weekends, and only to emergencies after 5:00 p.m.
"A dog-on-dog attack is not seen as an emergency, especially if it's a dog at large," said Trebatoski.
A person would have to be bitten or in danger of being bitten to respond immediately. During normal business hours, officers can usually respond within 48 hours.
So in the meantime, Starling is afraid she'll have to stick it out until the dog is captured.
"He can make us prisoners in our home," said Starling.
Trebatoski said animal control officers have been out to Starling's neighborhood a few times to capture the stray dogs but they've been too fast to catch. 
They'll most likely need to place a trap on someone's property to catch them. Trebatoski said they need permission from property owners to set those traps and so far the ones they've asked have said "no."

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