In May, a 52-year-old woman in southern Dallas was mauled to death by stray dogs who attacked her like they were "eating a steak," her family told the Dallas Morning News. After that attack, the city commissioned a report on its dog problem, which has found that about 8,700 canines are roaming its southernmost streets, forcing residents to venture outside only with pepper spray or weapons like baseball bats, the Los Angeles Times reports. The strays are mainly in the poorer areas of the city, where mostly blacks and Latinos live, and where the issue is exacerbated by a lack of veterinary facilities for spaying and neutering, pups abandoned by evicted residents, and people from other areas dumping their own unwanted dogs there. "It's a huge problem," Councilman Casey Thomas says. "People walking with sticks and golf clubs? That's a quality-of-life issue."
The Boston Consulting Group report found loose dogs of all sizes and breeds, noting that 85% of the dogs in South Dallas aren't spayed or neutered, and that bites from strays in the city went up 23% between 2013 and 2015. The city manager is mulling several options, including upping enforcement and offering cheaper spaying and neutering, per WFAA. But a rep for the Street Dog Project nonprofit tells the Morning News it's "extremely rare" for residents to bump into truly vicious dogs: She says that although the dogs her group has rescued are jumpy, they're "fine" once they find a home. Residents who attended a town hall meeting about the issue Monday—with a stray dog loitering in the parking lot, per NBC Dallas—might disagree. "We need the dogs picked up immediately, before there becomes another tragedy," one local said. (Detroit has struggled with a similar problem.)