YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Michelle Shirilla said stray dogs have been roaming the streets of her South Side neighborhood for a while now.
Last month, her 14-year-old beagle named Boots was attacked by a pit bull, which she said is part of a pack of stray dogs living in a vacant house in her neighborhood. She lives on Avondale Avenue.
“I was shoveling the snow and had the dog out with me. She just likes to play in the snow. There was a stray dog running, a red pit bull, and she came over and just attacked my dog,” Shirilla said.
The attack was brutal, resulting in Boots having to get 15 stitches that cost Shirilla more than $500.
“The dog had her in her mouth. She had bites all over,” she said.
Victoria Allen, who lives on East Lucius Avenue, said her cat was attacked and killed by stray dogs.
“My neighbor called and said she could hear cats screaming and a whole bunch of dogs barking,” Allen said.
Residents said the stray dogs have been a problem for several years and while they’re concerned about the animals, they are more worried about the kids in the neighborhood.
“This is a heavily populated area, with a lot of children who catch the bus in the morning. And I’m shocked that no one has been chased and attacked by these stray dogs,” Allen said.
Both Shirilla and Allen said the vacant houses are a breeding ground for the dogs and the property owners should have the houses properly secured. They also point out that not all the dogs are strays, with some are being allowed to run loose by their owners.
Shirilla said the Mahoning County Dog Pound has been very helpful in catching the more violent dogs. The pit bull that attacked her dog was captured that same day.
“We do work alongside them. If they needed help for a vicious dog, we do try to assist them, try to corner the dogs so they can go ahead and take their appropriate action,” said Animal Charity humane agent Kymberly Woodburn.
Shirilla said she did does not want to see anything bad happening to the dogs, but believes the problem would be alleviated if the vacant houses were taken care of.