Stray dogs running wild in Phoenix neighborhoods

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Dozens of stray dogs are running rampant through some Valley neighborhoods and residents in those neighborhoods are now saying enough is enough.

Many strays are roaming a neighborhood near 35th Avenue and Thomas Road, sometimes in packs.

"It's kind of scary," Isabel Gomez said. "I don't want to get bit."

"They're everywhere," Mykaela McKinney said. "They run around and at night you can hear them attacking each other."

McKinney and Anthony Divitto keep their dog, Moser, close.

"I've been attacked but never bit," Divitto said. "They come up and charge Moser sometimes, but I just chase them away."

John Reynolds with Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is working on the stray problem and says there were about 6,000 calls to Maryvale just last year -- nearly twice as many as Glendale.

"We get the reports of children or even adults being attacked or bitten by dogs that are running loose," Reynolds said.

Animal Control says they have been rounding up as many dogs as they can and then returning them to their owners when they can.

"Hopefully, they just get a good home, that is what we want because every animal deserves to have a good home," McKinney said.

Another neighborhood farther east is seeing the same problem with strays.

After first concentrating on Maryvale, Animal Care and Control has now started a special patrol program for the 85009 zip code that stretches from Interstate 10 to Southern Avenue and from Seventh Avenue to 43rd Avenue.

Michelle Deleon's dogs know how to get out and had been roaming her Sherman Park neighborhood. With the guidance of Maricopa County Animal Control, she's boarded up her fencing to keep them in.

However, there's still a problem with packs of stray dogs.

"Normally there's Chihuahuas all over out here and they do chase you on your bike, but I'm not scared of nothing," Deleon said.

"We've sent our officers out on a daily basis for the last couple of weeks," Reynolds said. "We get a bunch of dogs that are out on a regular basis and they start to pack up and travel in packs. That can be even more dangerous."

"Since these guys have been around the past two weeks, it's been good," Deleon said.

Reynolds will keep up the patrols.

The program is sponsored, in part, by PetSmart Charities and it provides vet vouchers, education and stepped-up patrols.