HOUSTON -- Complaints often echo throughout Houston s Fifth Ward. The complaints reflect residents frustrations over run-ins with stray dogs.

It s very frustrating, said a resident. I can t walk in my neighborhood.

It's an extreme problem, said another resident.

The strays are often seen bobbing and weaving between houses.

Some residents believe the city doesn t do enough to remove the animals from the streets.

But BARC's new beefed up budget could change things. Houston's Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care wants a $2.9 million increase to add 12 new animal control officers and six new vehicles.

If money will generate more staff that are trained, it will be a big help, said Fiftth Ward homeowner Bill White.

Every year BARC gets about 50,000 calls for service, but the department is only able to respond to about 25 percent of them. Experts believe the proposed budget could increase that figure to 40 percent.

So it's just baby steps, said BARC Spokesperson Greg Damianoff. We just keep chipping away to get better in terms of providing a better service level.

And even though better is far from perfect, folks living in the epicenter of the stray dog storm just want relief.

I can't go with the kids down the sidewalk while they ride their bikes, said one resident.

If approved by city council, BARC s new budget would take effect on July 1.

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