FORT WORTH, Texas — The City of Fort Worth is under fire from bloggers and dog lovers over claims the city is unfairly targeting an Army veteran.
Steven Woods' pit bull was declared a dangerous dog last month, but supporters raised money to help him keep her.
But now, Woods is in trouble again — and the city says there's more to this story.
The city has been getting about 50 e-mails and phone calls every week from people angry over Woods' case.
"I hope God punishes you," one message said.
About 4,000 people have signed a petition asking the city to leave Woods alone.
A judge declared his pit bull named Mimi a dangerous dog in November after an elderly man said she bit him.
Woods' attorney, Randy Turner, spread the story worldwide through blogs and e-mails. Donations poured in for the insurance and fees needed to help the veteran keep his pet.
"It was like a big relief off my chest," Woods said.
Now, Turner is turning to the public again because the city is still prosecuting his client in connection with another pit bull attack.
"I think this is a clear case of retaliation," Turner said.
But Brandon Bennett, Fort Worth's Code Compliance Director, says that's not true. He said Woods has been repeatedly cited over pit bulls.
The city cited him twice in April for pit bulls running loose in the neighborhood. On one occasion, officers had to use a chemical spray to subdue one of them.
Woods said they weren't his dogs.
Linda Johnson, however, claims that four dogs ran from Woods' open front door in June before they attacked her.
"He kicked at them and they finally quit," Johnson said. "They ran back into the house."
Woods vehemently denies it was his dogs that attacked the woman. He faces a trial in that case.
"Even if his dogs had been the ones that attacked somebody, why don't we give some consideration to the sacrifices this man made for his country and waive the fines?" asked Turner.
Bennett said the city must act in cases like these. "We have a duty and a responsibility to protect the public — including the elderly and children, and those who may not be able to fend off another attack," he said.
If Woods is found guilty of failure to quarantine his dog, fines could total more than $7,000.
His attorney says his client can't afford that, and might instead have to serve time in jail if convicted.