SAN ANTONIO -- Thousands of people are bitten by dogs every year in San Antonio. In certain neighborhoods, you run a greater risk of getting bitten or worse.
"There's a dog that bites, and they refuse to put any dogs on a leash... It's open season."
Alicia King, 75, was bitten by a neighbor's dog while she was out on a bike ride. She says unrestrained dogs run rampant in her neighborhood, putting the elderly and the very young in the most danger.
"Her dog ran up there, and it grabbed me right here, right here," King said as she held the back of her thigh.
These attacks sometimes can be fatal, like in the case of 83-year-old Petra Aguirre, who was killed when a neighbor's dog got out and mauled her.
In just this past fiscal year, 3,847 people reported getting bitten in San Antonio, according to Animal Care Services statistics.
In fact, the U.S. Postal Service ranks San Antonio among the top 30 cities for the most dog attacks on letter carriers, with 24 workers getting bitten in 2014. A total of 5,767 postal employees across the country were attacked by dogs last year.
ACS tells KENS 5 that strays aren't the biggest problem: It's people who let their pets roam free or get out. Most dogs that bite are usually someone's pet.
In certain zip codes, dog bites pose a more serious problem. This year alone, people living on the west and near northwest sides reported the most dog bites, with 135 in zip code 78207, 128 in 78227, and 108 in 78228. These fall predominantly in council districts 5, 6 and 7 which had 533, 408 and 389 bites reported, respectively.
"That's been one of the areas we have tried to educate the public, tried to bring in more spay/neuter services," said Kathy Davis, director of Animal Care Services. "If we can stop dogs from leaving their property, if we can get dogs sterilized and they don't have urge to roam, our dog bite statistics are going to reduce."
Davis said offering free and affordable spay and neuter services in high-bite neighborhoods is helping to curb the problem in San Antonio.
But for someone who has been bitten, like Alicia King, there's no such thing as feeling safe.
"Wouldn't you worry if you had your children out on bicycles?"
Free and affordable spay and neuter services are available in your neighborhood. Click for more information from San Antonio's Animal Care Services: http://www.sanantonio.gov/AnimalCare/WhatWeDoServices/LowCostServices/SpayNeuterServices.aspx