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pinkmint

How common is the stray dog problem that my area has?

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Do not quote, please. I might delete bc of personal-ish info.

 

Dallas, Texas (the city that I live in a small suburb of) has a stray dog problem. It came into the local spotlight last month when a woman was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs  :eek:  :( (http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2016/05/how-can-a-city-think-its-world-class-when-it-has-a-third-world-dog-problem.html/)

 

Ever since we moved her 3 years ago I was amazed at how common it is to see stray dogs. Never in my life (mostly on the west coast) had I seen so many. And it seems to be getting worse over time. 

 

At this point the street we live on has 2 stray/ homeless dogs that hang out together. I have called animal control and they are not very helpful. They claimed they tried to catch and couldn't so now they stopped trying I guess. 

 

It is obvious to me that this is a problem that is wrapped up in issues of poverty. People acquire a dog for a number of reasons, one of which is protection from the things you encounter in a low income area. They can't or won't take care of the dog properly, it escapes or they set it free and then they get a new dog and the whole thing starts over again. These run down neighborhoods seem to be a low priority for the city too. 

 

I guess this is sort of a JAWM because I don't like dogs in general and now I have to live with loose dogs roaming my street eating trash etc. I have small children. Does this occur in anyone else's area????

 

Also how do I protect myself (I would move today if we could but we can't because stupid money) while we have to be here? I do have pepper spray but I'm not sure how much good that does us. 

Edited by pinkmint

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First, get this. It works as well as pepper spray on dogs, doesn't make them more aggressive, and won't hurt you if it blows back on you or the kids in the wind. https://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-SprayShield-Retail-Clamshell-Package/dp/B00MIP6X06/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1464801842&sr=8-3&keywords=pet+safe+citronella+spray

 

Second, no, not common. The only "strays" I see are obviously someone's well fed pet who has gotten out of the house/yard. I do see that more in this neighborhood than I did when I lived in a wealthier area. But not outright strays. 

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It's very rare to see a stray dog here.  Occasionally I'll see a neighbor's dog running loose but not often.  It's so unusual to see an unknown loose dog that when I do see one I assume it's lost and try to catch it if possible.  FWIW, our county doesn't have a leash law so it's not unlawful to allow a dog to be loose.

 

What situations are you anticipating needing protection?  I prefer something physical like a pop-up umbrella (startles a dog and can act like a shield), a golf club or walking stick, etc.

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I never see strays (Scotland).  I live rurally but near two towns, one more expensive than the other.  

 

ETA: I just remembered that I have seen escaped dogs three times in eight years - in one case I took the dog home; in the other two I called the owners to come and pick them up.  I don't think of them as strays, exactly - just escapees.

Edited by Laura Corin

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What situations are you anticipating needing protection?  I prefer something physical like a pop-up umbrella (startles a dog and can act like a shield), a golf club or walking stick, etc.

 

I'm trying to be prepared for attacks and bites to myself or my children. 

 
One of the dogs is a largish lab looking dog and the other is a young pit bull looking dog. 

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I don't have this issue in my current area. When I do see a dog loose it's nearly always someone's pet let out that has strayed from the yard. No actual roaming stray dogs. We do have some stray cats but they're working on that. I did have an issue with stray dogs when I lived in a more rural area though. It seems people always drive out to the country to dump their strays. Then again that was in a different state in an extremely low income area so maybe that was the bigger factor? Idk. I'm in a low income, cheaper part of town now too but don't have that problem.

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We see them occasionally, but not often. We had one obvious stray (super thin, matted fur) that was coming by our house regularly. Animal control gave us a large trap (large dog) to put in our backyard. We baited it with dog food. We caught a few possums and a raccoon and, finally, the dog was caught. We called, and they came and picked it up. Mostly, the "strays" that I see are probably escaped pets out for an adventure. They look well fed and groomed.

 

 

Edited by Lolly

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I'm trying to be prepared for attacks and bites to myself or my children. 

 
One of the dogs is a largish lab looking dog and the other is a young pit bull looking dog. 

 

 

Sorry, I meant like in your yard or when you're out for a walk, etc.?

 

Assuming you live in a house I'd keep a sturdy broom or a shovel or hoe sitting near where your kids play.

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No stray dogs where I live but my town has a leash law so any wandering dogs are picked up.  Feral cats on the other hand---boy do I wish people would stop feeding them. (Pet food left out for cats is often consumed by raccoons and coyotes.  Ugh.)

 

Sorry for the hijack but our feral cat population is out of control.

 

 

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It's not at all common in my area. Feral cats are common but not stray dogs.

 

ETA: Like Jane's city, mine also has leash laws. Dogs on the loose don't remain that way for long.

Edited by Lady Florida.

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We don't see outright strays.  We have a neighbor or two that routinely let their dogs roam around town (against leash laws), and commonly see dogs that have escaped their owners in some way or another.  I roll my eyes at the first and try and help when possible with the latter. 

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I live in a very, very poor county on the east coast (as in all the kids in the county get free breakfast and lunch at school, no one has to apply, it's just there and it's free).  We do not have this problem.  Animal control does a pretty good job, but also, if a dog ever became a problem no one around here would hesitate to shoot and no one would judge them for it.  There was a racoon laying my yard in the middle of the day about a month ago.  We didn't call animal control.  We just shot it. 

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I never see stray dogs in my town or actually anywhere at all in our state.  If I ever see a dog out wandering, it never even occurs to me that it's a stray, but that it belongs to someone.

 

For the last several years, we spent a large portion of each year in Central America.  We saw many, many stray dogs.  Whenever I saw one, I wanted to adopt it.

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Never strays here. That's terrible. I know packs of stray dogs are problems in parts of the developing world (sections of Mexico, India etc) but it's crazy you have to deal with that in the US. Can you complain to the mayor or selectmen or whatever your local gov't head is?

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Yeah, I might contact someone in higher authority at the city since animal control is no much help so far.

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I've never lived anywhere where there were actual stray dogs. Your situation would make me very nervous. Arming yourself with some kind of spray is probably a good idea. :(

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That would make me nervous.  The poor woman in that news story! :(

 

I have lived in my small town (central NC) for a decade, and we've only ever had one dog wander into our yard (not a stray but an escapee).  Our area is very dog-friendly and we have tons of rescue groups; if strays were seen, they'd swoop in and take it to one of many local rescue/rehab farms.

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That does sound nerve wracking.  I've never seen a stray dog around here.  We have a lot of stray cats, but not dogs.

 

We do have an issue with crappy dog owners though.  Mostly people with pit bulls. 

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Very unusual. I've never lived anywhere like that. And for reference, we live in a neighborhood that's now pretty gentrified, but certainly wasn't when we moved here, and still has a lot of people living in poverty and there's never been anything like that. And my city is infamous for poor management sometimes. But they come out immediately for dogs.

 

I agree with going up the chain and complaining. Do you have a local representative, like city council or county council? I'd jump right to that person if you can. That's exactly the sort of issue I'd call our city councilwoman about. That's constituent service and it's what a good city councilor excels at - taking care of stuff that no one is taking care of.

 

We do have a feral cat issue. That's a whole other ball of wax though... Our feral cats are fed and have their shots though, which is something.

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I suppose it depends on what you consider a "stray."

 

In my neighborhood, there are many dogs that end "loose."  They usually aren't stray in that they have owners....but their owners are not very responsible.  Animal control's response is to go find the owner and talk to them.  Repeat ad nasueum.

 

About 3 houses down the road, there's a home where 2 German Shepherds live.  Well, one lives there...the other lives all over the neighborhood.  They let him just wander around whereever he feels like, any time of year, any kind of weather.  I assume they bring him inside or at least in the back yard where there is a dog house if the weather gets too terrible.  But I have seen him sitting on snow covered frozen ground in temps below freezing on more than one occasion, so, I dunno.  Animal control is well versed in this dog, but for whatever reason it hasn't been taken away.

 

Then, the first year we moved here, I was walking the kids back from school, the 2 little ones were in a double stroller.  We were about a block from the house and a giant boxer was out wandering around.  When he spotted us he came charging at us barking.  Scared the potty outta me, especially considering the kids in the stroller were right at his eye level.  I screamed because again...scared the potty outta me....and NO ONE poked their heads out of their doors even.  I didn't RUN, I mean I was pushing a double stroller so I couldn't have ran if I tried anyway, but I did walk as fast as I could home and this dog followed me all the way to our yard barking and starting to snarl even.  Animal control came out but by the time they got here, the dog was gone.

 

A few houses down the road the other direction, there's a home where a chocolate lab lives.  I would estimate this lab gets out of his fence about twice a month. 

 

Down the street from the school another family has a big boxer that they take care of....but if any of them are out front, that dog is out front, with no leash, not line, no fence, nothing.  I don't care how much you believe your dog would never hurt a fly....leash laws exist for a reason.

 

And, randomly, XYZ little dog squirrls out under his fence, etc.

 

Our neighborhood is semi rural, and somewhat low income.  Not....POOR.....but the average income for the area as a whole is pretty low and the neighborhood is a good representation of that.  I know that many of the dogs that end up loose around here aren't dogs that the owners CAN'T take care of...it's that they don't.  And, it's not a case of the owners replacing dogs as they disappear...it's just that the owners aren't responsible enough to take the necessary steps to keep their dogs to themselves.  I do find that sort of attitude tends to be common in low income neighborhoods.  It wasn't an issue in the neighborhood we lived in back in Indy, and it's not common in my brother's neighborhood, but my sister's neighborhood its really common, and the loose dogs are also more common. 

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No, we don't have stray dogs here.  We have a responsive animal control unit and a leash law.  The only dogs I have seen out are escapees from owners,  In my neighborhood, the feral cat population is probably near zero since we have coyotes here who eat them.

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Not common at all.

 

Our animal control is well budgeted and they will round up dogs quickly. Some municipalities have a 'one free ride home/year' policy for licenced dogs so if Fido gets out of the yard & is caught, they'll bring him right back & you won't be charged. Otherwise there are fines. The shelters are all no kill & unclaimed dogs are fully vetted, spayed/neutered & placed for adoption after a mandatory waiting period. 

I have spare leashes in my car & if you see a loose dog anywhere, people will pull over & help to try to grab it or lure it into the car. Most dog owners will do this as our experience is that dogs that are out loose are someone's beloved pet which has escaped & we want to see them reunited.  When dogs do get out, there are groups of volunteers who will organize on the various fb & meetup sites and will walk through parks or neighborhoods to help find the lost dogs.  We also have a guy who owns bloodhounds and you can hire him to come help look for the dogs. He also helps set up live traps & has successfully recaptured even very frightened 'on the run' dogs. 

I'd complain regularly in writing to municipal authorities if circumstances were as you described. 

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No stray dogs, no feral cats.  Only the very rare wild animal during the day (at night I'm sure there are many).

 

We live in rural suburbia 15 miles outside of a large city.

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I live 'in town' - it's a small town of only about 20,000, but we live in town, not out in the country. I almost never see stray dogs.  I'm far more likely to see deer or turkeys than dogs. 

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I live in a small town, and I haven't seen any stray dogs here. Occasionally I see an escapee and walk him or her home. However, there is a HUGE problem with people dumping animals out in the country. It is not at all uncommon to hear of puppies left by the side of the road. Most of the shelters here are kill shelters. Maybe that has something to do with it, or maybe people just can't be bothered to do otherwise.  :(

 

Some idiot left a litter of dachshund puppies in a field with a bag of dog food, and the Humane Society has not been able to catch them all. It's been months now, and I think they've given up. They are literally living in the woods, and it gets cold here! Someone brought them a shelter filled with hay, and I know various people were feeding them. 

 

OP, please don't use pepper spray. Stray dogs aren't going to be able to wash it out of their eyes, and it would be very painful for them. Please carry citronella spray instead.

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An air horn is also an option if you're scared. 

Also learn how to deal with dogs 

http://www.doggonesafe.com/Dog_Bite_Prevention_Week_tips

If you can find a presenter on that site you could organize an info session. There are very concrete behaviors that people can do to avoid nuisance dogs or avoid arousing dogs or triggering an attack. The vast vast majority of dogs will not attack. 

basic tips are to not stare at them; position yourself sideways. The Be a Tree pose (on a poster in the link above) is good. Tuck arms in and don't move. When dog loses interest move slowly, preferably sideways. Sidle away. 

Really work on teaching kids not to shriek, run or flap their arms. 

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We live in another major TX city south and slightly west of you. We, too, this spring had someone nearly killed by 2 attacking dogs. A policeman stepped in to distract the dogs from the first person attacked and was attacked himself. I believe he was able to shoot the dogs to save himself. I'm a substitute teacher and sub in a school that offers free breakfast/lunch to all the kids; it's a more poverty stricken area. In that area, every time I sub I see dogs roaming around. I don't know if they have owners or if they're strays, but I've heard from others that there is a big stray problem in our city. I have frequently used another forum when I have questions I can't answer specific to my city. Perhaps someone more local might have some suggestions. (Nevermind. When I went to post the link I saw you'd already asked the question.)

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Do you live in my neighborhood? We are in southwest Dallas and I am amazed by how many strays we have. Actually probably 1/3 strays and 2/3 dogs that are either owned or at least fed by someone but run loose all day.

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We had a large problem with strays when our neighborhood was new. Basically, animal control would come get the dog if we could tell them exactly where it was. At one point, we coaxed a dog (which was not behaving in a threatening way) into our yard. Then animal control came and got it. I don't know if that's an option for you. It's very unsettling, though, when you don't feel safe walking or playing because of them.

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I have not noticed stray dogs where I've lived before...all over Florida, Michigan, and New York.

 

I know that we do have free or low-cost neuter spay programs which may help that are for both feral animals and pets.  They tattoo the animals with a small green dot (I think) so that it is known.

 

It's troubling, as I like dogs so it would bother me to have to feel afraid of them or worry about them.

 

Does the city animal control have a plan?  If not, I would be at the next city council/town hall meeting and bring it up.  IMHO, in this day and age, this is unacceptable.

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No stray dogs here - not 'true' feral strays that don't belong to anyone, nor random pets being let to wander around.  If you see a dog without a human (which is almost never), you assume it's a lost dog.

 

The only wandering canines we ever see are coyotes (or in our area, they're actually coywolves), but not often.  I've only ever seen a couple.  I did see a bobcat the other day - that was cool!

 

I don't think I could live somewhere that had packs of feral dogs...  this is why all of our rescue dogs come from down South, I'm guessing?  Unless you want a pit or chihuahua, there are no strays or abandoned dogs in the shelters, you have to go to a rescue and 99% of those seem to be bused up from down South.

 

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I live in Colorado, in a mid-sized city.  I don't see stray dogs here.  Once in a while, a dog will get out of someone's yard.  I usually help find owners when I see that situation.  Are there any private animal rescues in your area?  Maybe they would have some input?  If an animal came after me in an aggressive manner, i'd look to hit it with a stick or use the pepper spray.    

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The only place I've lived with a stray dog issue was out in the country where people would drop Fido off, thinking he was going to have a good life on the farm. Stupid idea. The woods are full of coyotes and "shoot, shovel and shut up" is the law of the land (for good reason).

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We had a few strays when we lived in the woods.  I called animal control and they tracked them down and took them in (a Rott and a St. Bernard).  We had a zillion stray cats, thanks to a neighbor who kept them and fed them and never spayed or neutered. 

 

If I were you, I would find a live trap (Havahart?) and trap the animals and haul them down to the pound or animal control myself.  That's what we finally did with some of the most nasty, vicious cats hanging around our house.  Bait the trap and check it frequently.  When you trap the dogs, haul them away immediately and set it out again.  Because animal control is probably overwhelmed and can't really spend all day tracking down dogs if there are tons of them.  But they will probably take them (or tell you where to take them) if you bring the animals to them, maybe?

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Welcome to Texas. I was fairly horrified when we moved here to see even one stray dog. It turns out that mostly they aren't stray.

People either aren't aware their dog has gotten loose or they don't care. Most loose pets are not neutered or spayed.

 

Where is Murphy 101? She probably has a stray dog story or two to share as she lives in the metro area. We live outside of the metro area. When I would call the city animal control they would tell me to call the sheriff's animal control because we were outside of the city limits (I don't mean the big cities). They would show up but of course by then, the dogs had jumped back into enclosure. Yeah. 

 

Where I lived back east we never saw strays. NEVER. 

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Stray dogs round here are most likely to be shot. Which doesn't sound nice but does make for fairly responsible pet owners because you know what could happen. We have picked up a couple of obviously well loved Wanderers and put a sign up - they were quickly reunited with loving owners.

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The only place I've lived with a stray dog issue was out in the country where people would drop Fido off, thinking he was going to have a good life on the farm. Stupid idea. The woods are full of coyotes and "shoot, shovel and shut up" is the law of the land (for good reason).

This is a big problem in our neighborhood.

We actually took in a dumped lab puppy last year and several neighbors have done the same with various young and elderly dogs.

Aggressive loose dogs will not be tolerated and SS&SU is the only option out here.

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My area is becoming more developed but I do recall seeing sickly beagles on country roads back in the day.  I was told that some less than responsible hunters would drop their dogs off in the middle of the woods somewhere when hunting season was over so that they would not have to feed the dog during the rest of the year.  What?!?!

 

Some people obviously need to be dropped off in the middle of (a very big) woods to share in the same experience.

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No stray dogs, but we did have a chicken running around the neighborhood for about a year. No one could catch her, not even the coyotes. I think she eventually took up residence in someone's backyard. :zombie:

 

That's a big problem, though. I agree with the others that you are going to have to move up the chain of command to get this solved. Perhaps contact a local tv station; I can see how this could be a high-interest story, so the media might jump all over it.

Edited by trulycrabby

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We have strays a few times a year. My upstairs neighbor who is a dog lover would take the strays to the animal shelter after sending out an email to the neighborhood and keeping them a few days to see if the owner show up.

 

We have a leash law so any dog without a collar would be assumed to be a stray. A dog with collar and no leash probably ran off and got lost.

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My area is becoming more developed but I do recall seeing sickly beagles on country roads back in the day. I was told that some less than responsible hunters would drop their dogs off in the middle of the woods somewhere when hunting season was over so that they would not have to feed the dog during the rest of the year. What?!?!

 

Some people obviously need to be dropped off in the middle of (a very big) woods to share in the same experience.

😠😠😠

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I lived in a place like that once, in the heartland.

 

I carried a club. I had to use it. Not cool.

 

ETA-- But yes, it is blessedly unusual in the US. Other countries, notsomuch.

Edited by OKBud

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When I lived in San Antonio, our neighbor had two very aggressive dogs that he let run loose. We could not play in our yards (since they would jump the fence into our yard) or walk around the neighborhood. They also barked all night. Animal Control came out but they would run into their yard when they saw the animal control truck. Eventually the neighbors moved and left the dogs. It was horrible with two small toddlers.

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Don't move to Moscow...

 

 

I am sorry. I would complain, capture, write editorials, etc. Depending on the area of Texas, you could use the shoot/shovel plan and people would think that was acceptable, that might have been why we saw no strays when we lived in Abilene, Texas.

 

I have lived all over during our years in the Air Force and have not seen that anywhere we have lived.

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I live in a suburb of DFW (Plano) and have NEVER seen a stray dog or cat. In fact, I have never, in the 16 years we have lived here, seen ANY cat. Dogs, yes, but only on leashes.

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We don't have stray dogs in a residential (but not suburb, exactly) area of Colorado Springs.

 

I don't think it is an issue of your city's unwillingness to spend as much $ on poor areas as rich ones - like you said, often the original incidence of strays is higher in impoverished areas for a variety of reasons.  For this situation, you're actually asking the city to spend *more* on the poor areas than on the wealthy ones (where less stray dogs roam in the first place).

 

That said, it's obviously a public safety hazard and should be dealt with.  I'd say there are two options - campaign for a tax increase to better fund the animal control services in Dallas, or campaign for a reallocation of funds from some other program to better fund animal control services (assuming they're not controlling the dog population because they can't afford to).

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I'm in the suburbs of PHX that border farmland.

No stray dogs, just an occasional escapee with the phone number on the collar. We have 6 ft. tall cinder block walls around each property in the cities and suburbs with plenty of leash laws.  Even in the country people don't let their dogs run loose. If it's farmland it could get shot, so people are more careful.  Coyotes and large birds of prey eat little dogs and stray cats like appetizers so people living near the desert area tend to be careful. 

 

We have stray cats in the area.  We took one in in December and have been civilizing her ever since. She's a sweet and spunky little thing.

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I've never seen stray dogs outside the US. They're common in lots of other countries.

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Plano

Say no more. Lol.

 

In my experience of DFW so far, the difference between the north of Dallas and south of Dallas is truly amazing.

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