HOUSTON -- A neighborhood in southwest Houston is calling for action after a family s beloved pet rabbit was killed in its backyard by two neighborhood pit bulls.

Neighbors near Beechnut and Hillcroft claim the dogs and their owner have been causing problems for nearly a decade.

Houston Animal Control confirms it has responded to the owner s home, but there s not much that can be done.

In order for officers to take action, the dogs would either have to attack a person or be caught by animal control officers off of their property. Spokesman Christopher Newport said the law leaves the hands of officers tied more often than not.

For the owner of the rabbit that was dragged out of its cage and brutalized, nothing is making sense.

I m terrified it s going to get worse. It just keeps escalating, said Anna-Leigh Copeland.

Anna-Leigh Copeland said she s most worried for her two young children and three small dogs. Copeland and other neighbors claim the pit bulls from down the street easily jump over fences and come and go as they please.

I heard them running at me once, and they ran at me. I got in the door, and I got the door locked,

explained Copeland. It s not fair to the entire neighborhood to have to deal with this and worry.

Neighbors said they feel hopeless because this has been going on for so long.

According to neighbors on Jackwood Street, the owner of the pit bulls has had a constant flow of dogs in his home for almost ten years.

One of the dogs bit a 77-year-old neighbor several months ago. That dog was removed from the home when officers responded.

They re not what you call dog people because they don t take care of them, said Robert Carrow, the man who was bitten.

Lori Brooks, with the neighborhood civic association, claims the dogs always appear to be malnourished and mistreated

He s allowed to keep having animals. There s no control. The problem is he doesn t care about them, said Lori Brooks.

KHOU went to get an explanation from the owner of those dogs.

We ve been trying to keep the dogs calm and everything. He just, once a dog learns how to jump the fence, there s no breaking it out of them. It s already part of his nature, said owner Leonardo Rojas.

Rojas said his dogs are in good shape and admits that every once in while they misbehave .

I m really sorry. I don t know what else to do except turn in my dogs. It hurts me just as much to let them go, said Rojas.

Rojas said he was going to be sending his dogs to his sister s house. He later confessed that he d be keeping his female pit bull Honey.

I feel really guilty about everything, he explained.

Animal control said they want to do more for this neighborhood and others across Houston.

Spokesman Christopher Newport told KHOU that animal control is fighting to change the city ordinance that is currently boxing officers in. He said the hope is that officers can eventually impound dogs that attack pets and cite dogs that are a public nuisance.

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