HOUSTON -

A Houston man said he had no choice but to pull a shotgun on an attacking pit bull.

Mon Johnson said he came out of his back door of his home on East Ridge Creek and Hiram Clarke in southwest Houston Wednesday morning, headed for his tool shed, when he was attacked by a pit bull.

"I got charged by a pit bull in my back yard. In my back yard," said Johnson.

Johnson said he's had stray dogs wander into his back yard before, but he didn't see the pit bull this morning until it charged him.

"The dog attacked me, came up from under my storage building. They been out here several times for dog calls. I caught dogs several times in the cage in the back," Johnson said.

Because stray dogs are such a persistent problem in the neighborhood, Johnson said he keeps a shotgun in his storage shed. He grabbed it when the pit bull attacked and blasted the dog before it got to him, he said.

That stopped the pit bull, but didn't kill him. The dog was badly wounded. He was put down later at the city animal shelter.

Neighbor Reggie Johnson said it's a serious problem in the Green Valley Estates subdivision. He said he and his neighbors worry about their kids having to share play space with wild dogs.

"They spend a lot time in both our back yards, playing. We have our yards set up for our kids to play in, and we're just glad it wasn't one of the children trying to open the shed to get that toy gun cause something very terrible could have happened," Johnson said.

The city's Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care said stray animals are a big problem in the area, and neighbors said BARC trucks make regular visits to the neighborhood. But a BARC spokesman said on any given day the city only has seven dog catchers to cover 620 square miles.

Houston animal control officers said in the last year, their officers impounded 386 stray animals in the area where that pit bull attack happened Wednesday.