WACO, TX — A woman in Waco is scared to leave her home due to her neighbor's dogs.
Patricia Cashaw said her neighbor has about six or seven dogs that constantly bark, chew on their cages and jump against the chain link fence between them.
"They're vicious," Cashaw said. "I'm afraid."
Cashaw carries pepper spray with her each time she leaves the house. She said it's the only way she feels comfortable stepping outside.
Her 16-year-old daughter and 26-year-old nonverbal son with autism are scared to go outside.
"I just wish my kids could play in the backyard," Cashaw said. "We can't do anything out here."
Cashaw avoids her backyard at all costs. She's wary of her front yard, too.
"I feel like I'm paying for half a house," Cashaw said.
Cashaw said the cages and short chain link fence don't always keep the dogs contained.
Last Friday, Cashaw said two puppies got out and followed them to her car.
"They were growling," Cashaw said. "I had to push my son back in the house."
Cashaw has called animal control, but there's not much the City of Waco can do to ease her mind.
Luis Leyva is the shelter manager at the Humane Society of Central Texas. He said the city used to have a rule that allowed only six animals per household, but that changed around 2013.
Leyva said there's now no limit on how many animals a homeowner can have. There's also no height requirement for a fence.
Leyva said animals do have to be contained either by a tethered leash, cage or fence. If left outside, the animal must have shelter and water at all times.
Cashaw pointed out that the cages the dogs are kept in aren't in the best shape. Plywood and weights sit on top of some of them.
"You see those cages are not secure, those are homemade cages," Cashaw said.
Homemade or not, her neighbor isn't breaking any rules.
We knocked on her neighbor's door to get their side of the story, but no one was home.
Cashaw wants the city to enforce a stronger ordinance for pets. She feels powerless as she counts down the days for her lease to end.
"It's scary," Cashaw said. "I just wish something could be done."
Leyva said Cashaw's neighbor could get in trouble for noise violations if the dogs are barking at unreasonable hours. If the animals are kept in poor living conditions and escape repeatedly, they could also face some issues.
Leyva said in each case, there needs to be proof. He suggests taking photos or videos as evidence. He said you should also contact animal control or the police directly so someone can come out to make a report.
If you have an issue similar to Cashaw's, you can contact animal control directly at 254-750-1765.
There's also no limit to how many animals you can have in Killeen. If you live in Temple, there's a limit of six, whether that be six dogs, six cats or a mix of both.
In College Station, a home can have no more than four pets. The same goes for those who live in Bryan.