Neighbors express concern over seven unleashed dogs

Neighbors said for over a year now dogs have been wreaking havoc in a Cape Coral neighborhood.

“If you’re not careful,” Joel Perez said, “the dog can definitely bite you.”

Neighbors like Perez claim the seven dogs across the street are constantly left out alone for days at a time. When the owner is home, the door is often left open.

Neighbor protects his pets with a gate from the unleashed seven dogs. WINK News Photo
Neighbor protects his pets with a gate from the unleashed seven dogs. WINK News Photo

“They’ve gone after me numerous times,” Michael Welchman said. “I have a stick with me every time I’m out in my front yard.”

Welchman is scared for everyone in his neighborhood, including what he calls his “two gentle giants.”

“We put this gate up about a year and a half ago shortly after they moved in because I opened the front door and I was greeted by one of the dogs,” Welchman said.

What do I do if a dog comes running at me?

A city ordinance said you could contain dogs.

“If you’re afraid of the dog, do not contain it,” said Karen Fordiani, public information specialist at  Lee County Domestic Animal Services. “That’s the last thing you want to do if you’re afraid of the dog. You can take pictures like I said even from a distance.”

Those pictures and videos, combined with a sworn statement, can be used to cite the owner. Animal Services said the fines are typically enough to continue the owner to control their dogs.

But if it doesn’t, then the courts may decide.

“They’re property,” Fordiani said. “If they are a continual nuisance, they’ll have to go in front of a judge. It’s up to a judge whether or not the dogs get taken away from them.”

The evidence that police and animal services collects from these neighbors can all be used to build a case.

But for now, these neighbors are keeping their loved ones close.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Michael Mora
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