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Stray dogs a major problem in some Tulsa neigborhoods; see a map of the hot spots

KTUL

There are a handful of names Josie Davis responds to, but to the kids living in her neighborhood near 56th Street North and North Peoria she’s “Aunt Josie.”

“She’s just like the neighborhood’s auntie, she just helps every kid on the streets,” said Clarence, one of kids who frequents Josie’s home.

Her yard is a creative playground for the kids. Forgotten and broken toys find new life here as Josie and the kids try to fix them or create new toys. She said her front yard is a place where they get to be kids.

“They have to be able to be a kid first and have fun being a kid,” said Josie.

As hard as Josie tries, she can’t keep one threat away -- stray and loose dogs on the run. All the kids in the neighborhood have run into a stray or wandering dog at one time or another.

It happened to Araia when she was riding her bike.

“I was on my bike, I didn’t know (the dogs) were coming,” remembered Araia. “I was riding my bike and they just started chasing me.”

“There is where the teeth were right there, he got a chunk -- that’s why there are lines,” said Mario, who was bitten by a dog. “That’s when I was thinking, run, hit it and all that, but the dog let go after someone called it.”

Josie wears a brace on her wrist from when dogs attacked her while she was getting out of her car.

“It was like, not again, I’ve had to run from dogs in this neighborhood so much,” said Josie.

“If an animal takes off in a foot race, dog or cat, the dog is going to win every time,” said Jean Letcher, with Tulsa Animal Welfare.

Letcher knows the pockets in Tulsa where there are more stray or loose dogs. One of those spots is where Josie calls home, from 46th Street North to 56th Street North and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Peoria.

Channel 8 looked at how many dogs were taken in by TAW in all of the Tulsa City Council districts. The I-team broke the city council's district map into sections -- North, South, East and West.

According to data from TAW:

  • On the north side of the map, from 46th Street North to 56th Street North and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Peoria, about 90 dogs were taken in during 2016.
  • On the west side, from 61st to 71st and Riverside to Lewis, TAW took in about 67 dogs in 2016.
  • On the south side, from 71st to 81st and Yale to Sheridan, about 24 dogs were taken in during 2016.
  • On the east side, from 31st to 41st and Highway 169 to 129th East Avenue, about 65 dogs were taken in during 2016.

“We would love to be able to do more,” said Letcher. “With the number of officers (and) the budget as tight as it is, the number of officers we have, we are in a totally reactive stance.”

Letcher said Tulsa has made significant progress in reducing the number of stray animals on the streets, but there’s still more work to be done.

TAW put together a “heat map” of all animal intakes in 2016. Along the map, there are certain areas of Tulsa where there are higher intakes of animals. Letcher hopes the map will show city leaders how much help is needed.

“We are not able to have officers out canvasing an area,” said Letcher.

Back near 54th Street North and North Hartford, Josie said she’s heard one piece of advice around her neighborhood.

“Don’t call police, don’t do a citizen crime report, don’t do anything,” said Josie.

But she said she’s not going to listen to that and will keep calling about stray dogs, crime and other issues.

“We are an awesome community, if they would just, you know, give a little help,” said Josie.

Like the toys that are broken and overlooked in her yard, she said her neighborhood is the same. With a little help, creativity and compassion anything can be fixed.


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