Neighborhood looks for help dealing with “dangerous” dogs

OKLAHOMA CITY - For 50 years, Earlene Glass has loved her home, walking through the neighborhood for miles in the morning or evening.

Today, it just doesn't feel the same.

"I wasn't afraid before," she told NewsChannel 4. "[But,] that's a different story now."

Two weeks ago, walking to the store from her home near S.W. 59th and I-240, Glass said a pit bull sneaked up on her.

"It did not growl, didn't bark and bit me on the right thigh," she said. "I went to the emergency room, but the wound was so deep they could not stitch it up for fear of getting bacteria in there."

Now, Glass is taking antibiotics, but she's still feeling the pain of animals she claims have terrorized her neighborhood.

She returned from the hospital to find three dogs in her back yard, barking incessantly.

"When I peeked out, I could see where they had taken some mats and some things I had on the patio and torn them to shreds over the yard," she said. "But, even worse still, when I look closer, I have a cat that I had for 12 years - it never goes out of the yard or my house - and she was rather torn apart, let's say."

Glass called 911, which directed her to animal control, but she said, by the time they finally responded, the dogs were gone.

"If they're not there when people call, the dogs aren't going to hang around waiting for someone to come pick them up," she said. "I was very sad animal control didn't come through."

OKC Animal Welfare said it's not always that easy.

"Oklahoma City's a very large area," said Animal Welfare Superintendent Jon Gary. "And, with the number of people out there sometimes, it's a struggle to get to all the calls we receive. We receive about 30,000 calls a year for service."

Gary said Animal Control agents have responded to the area in the past, even impounding a dog in 2015.

But, it's difficult to catch a dog if it isn't in plain sight.

"Dogs, especially when they've been loose in an area for a long time, they've become familiar with the area," he said. "They know where to go when we get there to avoid us, so sometimes it can be difficult to catch a dog that's familiar with the area and knows the area well."

To make it easier, Gary wants callers to make sure they provide as much information as possible.

Describing a "dangerous dog on the loose" will set a higher priority for officers, as opposed to just a "dog on the loose."

Callers should also try to take note of the places they see the stray dogs and what time they see them there.

Strays often have routines, Gary said, that can help agents be in the right place at the right time.

In some areas though, there is a culture of letting dogs roam the neighborhood, Gary said.

OKC Animal Welfare is trying to address that problem by using "sweep teams" to target strays in specific areas.

Glass, meanwhile, feels like she's still searching for answers, living in fear of the neighborhood animals.

She counts three or four occasions on which she's seen the dogs climb over her fence and wind up in her yard.

"I realize, sometimes when I carry a stick, it's not anything these dogs would fear," she said. "Mace, that sort of thing, you'd better get pretty close. And, I don't want any closer. I've had two bites, one on my arm, one on my right thigh but I know that, if they can get you that much, they'll go for the throat next."

To contact Animal Control, call 405-297-3100.