Dogs attacked two Dallas police officers Monday who were called by a man who had been bitten by the dogs, police said.
James Demaree said the dogs ripped his grocery sack as he walked by in the 2200 block of Lea Crest Drive near Overton Road, and then the dogs circled behind him as he tried to pick up his things.
"I turned around for this one back here, that one bit me on the leg," Demaree said.
The man said he called police and then sat in the squad car watching as the dogs attacked the officers.
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"He had a big board, and he was trying to get them to back out. He pulled out a gun and tried to pop them one," Demaree said.
Dallas Police Lt. David Smith said the dogs were immediately aggressive as the officers tried to help the victim retrieve items.
"Both officers then had to draw their service weapons and each one fired one shot at the dogs, as the dogs were attempting to fight the officers," Smith said.
It happened in the same neighborhood where Dallas Animal Services launched a crackdown on strays last year. Officials said the crackdown started there because the neighborhood had more complaints about loose dogs than any other Dallas neighborhood.
Neighbors said there are still many loose dogs in the area and these two dogs had been a frequent menace.
"They tried to attack the police and everything, and it's very dangerous, over here with these pit bulls," said neighbor Charlotte Monroe. She said the two dogs were loose Monday morning as children went to school.
"We couldn't go to work, couldn't go to the store, couldn't do nothing. They start chasing grown people," Monroe said.
Dallas Animal Services officers were called immediately after the officers were attacked Monday and both dogs were eventually captured. The dogs were placed in quarantine for 10 days to determine if they have rabies. In a statement Monday evening, animal services officials said there were no signs of gunshot wounds to the dogs.
Owner Margarita Cuello apologized for what happened. She said she kept the dogs for protection, but they had always been good to her children. She said she did not know the dogs had gotten loose.
The joint response by police and animal services officers was different than what happened after the May 2 attack on 52-year-old Antoinette Brown by a pack of dogs near Fair Park. Animal services officials said police did not tell them about the attack until four days later. Those dogs were only surrendered to Dallas Animal Services by their owner on the fifth day after the attack. Neighbors said they ran free for days after the attack, threatening other people.
Smith said police and animal services officers are working more closely now to be sure dogs that bite are no longer a threat to neighbors.
"We've always responded to animal bites and animal attacks, but because of recent events that have occurred, our response has been ramped up," Smith said.
A police commander was placed in charge of Dallas Animal Services by the Dallas city manager to improve response and coordination between the two agencies after the fatal attack.
Joyce Roseburrow, a neighbor of the man bitten Monday, said she was not surprised about the attack. She keeps brook sticks on her front porch to defend herself if she goes outside.
"I got two of them, one for my neighbor and one for me," she said. "When we go walking, we use these."
Dallas Police and Dallas Animal Services are still investigating the attacks. They refuse to release the name of the owner from the fatal Fair Park area attack, but officials have said animal control citations have been issued to that owner and criminal charges are possible for the woman's death.