By Sarah Forgany, KENS
West-side residents are holding their breath, hoping the next victim isn't a child after they say dogs brutally attacked neighborhood pets. Residents say the attacks have happened on Southwest 34th Street over the past several months. The latest victim was an 8-month-old Shih Tzu that belonged to Sylvia Vela.
Vela says she let him out of the house for a few minutes. Kingsley, her puppy, ran down the street and on his way back, Vela says she saw a pack of pit bulls chasing him.
"One dog got a hold of his head and the other one got a hold of his body," Vela said. "They didn't just kill him, they ate him, they demolished him."
Vela says she has a grandchild and fears the dogs could turn on them next, eventually hurting a person.
Meanwhile, another resident, Mary Gomez, told KENS 5 she found her dog attacked to death near where the pit bulls live. That was back in August, she said, but then again in November, Gomez claims she witnessed the pit bulls killing another dog.
"They were just pulling him apart. They were tugging on him like a piece of rag," Gomez said.
The pit bulls belong to Dolores Sandoval. She told KENS 5 she owns five pit bulls and several puppies to protect her house, which she said is often targeted by thieves.
Sandoval says her dogs are not vicious.
"The attacks happened because the dogs came near my backyard," Sandoval said. "If a dog gets close to the yard, of course they are going to get out and defend themselves."
Sandoval told KENS 5 she keeps her dogs chained up but lets two of them loose at night for protection.
She says in the past they've been able to escape from under the fence but she has purchased more chains to keep them locked up.
Animal Care Services has only confirmed one dog attack in connection with Sandoval's pit bulls. But they say Sandoval has received numerous citations.
ACS says the dogs can't be removed without a dog hearing.
"We can't just go in and decide we are going to take them. People do have 4th Amendment rights," said Vincent Medley, assistant director at Animal Care Services.
However, Medley added: "We can as part of the process for dangerous dog. If we conclude a hearing is necessary, we will remove the dogs from the area until the determination is made whether or not they are dangerous."
Medley also said ACS will be initiating a dangerous dog investigation soon.
"We will ask the owners and people in the neighborhood who observed vicious behaviors from these dogs, and we will get affidavits."
Vela told KENS 5 that she's willing to go through a dog hearing to get the pit bulls out of the neighborhood.
"They will kill a child, they will kill a person, and I know that because the way I saw them attack my dog," Vela said.