By Monique Cortez
SAN ANTONIO—The Our Lady of the Lake University campus falls in the zip code of 78207, which is also where the second highest area where stray dogs reside. Between 2010 and 2015, there have been reports of 428 dog attacks in the west side, specifically in the 78207 zip code. This may seem as a shock to some, but the number of dog attacks and bites has increased. The number of stray dogs in San Antonio rose as animals killed in shelters decreased. The majority of the animal shelters in San Antonio are “no kill,” and since each shelter can only hold a certain amount of cats and dogs, many are left as strays. These strays roam the streets and sometimes have difficulty interacting with people; therefore, when provoked or frightened, these animals attack.
Oddly enough, these issues have been happening long before the increase in “no kill” shelters. The reason the public was never aware of the dog bites is because city officials were never confronting the matter or investigating the incidents.
In March 3, 2015, the “Audit of Animal Care Services Dispatching & Operations” was created to ensure that attacks from stray dogs were given the attention needed and reports were filed accordingly. To read more about the audit, click on this link.
After the audit, the attacks from dogs were handled with greater care, but it never stopped them from happening completely. Today, the dog populations continues to grow creating overfilled shelters. The problem is exacerbated by lower-income families being unable to afford having their dogs spayed or neutered. Since the lowest income families reside in the south and west side, the 78207 area is filled with potential biters.
The city cannot prevent every attack, but there are things you can do to prevent being attacked by a dog. If you come in contact with an aggressive dog, stay calm. Screaming or running will not benefit you in the slightest and in the end; you are a potential chew toy for the dog. If you are attacked, use what you have to create a wall between you and the dog while shoving it against it. If you are in the situation where the dog knocks you to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and stay perfectly still. Remember, most stray dogs will not attack unless provoked or frightened, so respect their space. Do not disturb them if they are eating, taking care of their young, or sleeping. For more helpful tips to avoid dog bites and attacks, go to this link.