Pit Bull Battle Rages in North Fort Worth Neighborhood

Owner says she is being targeted over her religion; neighbors say dogs Lilo and Stitch are dangerous

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A North Fort Worth woman whose dogs were seized by the city says they are not dangerous and that her neighbors are targeting her because she is Muslim. Her neighbors say the dogs are aggressive and have gotten out several times. (Published Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012)

    A battle over two pit bulls seized by the city as dangerous animals has erupted into a heated neighborhood squabble in North Fort Worth.

    "They're adorable. They're sweet-natured," said the dogs' owner, Rana Soluri.

    She blames vindictive neighbors for reporting her dogs, Lilo and Stitch, to animal control officers.

    "They're innocent. They didn't do anything," she said. "They're used as pawns. It's simple. And it hurts."

    But her neighbors on both sides of her home say the dogs are aggressive and have gotten out several times.

    "I do know they have shown aggressive tendencies that I have seen before," said neighbor Jason Walraven.

    The disagreement is complicated by Soluri's claim that her neighbors are targeting her because of her religion.

    Soluri, who was born in Jordan, is Muslim.

    "It's obvious," she said. "It's been going on for six years. They've made it very clear they don't like the likes of me around here. They've made it very clear about my race and about my religion."

    Her neighbors adamantly deny the claim.

    "That's not right," Walraven said. "None of us here have a problem with her religion."

    Soluri has appealed a judge's ruling that her dogs are vicious, and she has gathered thousands of signatures on a website to try to stop the city from euthanizing the dogs.

    "I want my time in court in front of a jury," she said. "I want a fair trial. This is the United States."

    Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price tweeted a statement Tuesday saying: "When issues such as these enter the court system, we must always carry out the orders of the court when a dog is declared 'dangerous.'"

    Soluri and her neighbors both say they have squabbled for years. Each has called police on the other numerous times about various issues. Even the FBI recently investigated Soluri's claim she was the victim of a hate crime.

    Soluri said she won't give up her fight for her pit bulls.

    "If my dogs were guilty, I'm a big person to admit they are guilty," she said. "But they didn't do anything."