HOUSTON -

A southeast Houston woman says she shot and killed a stray pit bull this morning after it chewed its way into her yard, attacked her dog and then charged at her and her next door neighbor.

"They knock down garbage cans and they're running in packs," said Carolyn, a resident.

Homeowners say aggressive dogs are taking over and animal control is too overwhelmed to deal with them. They are so short staffed, it's becoming a matter of public safety, forcing the police and residents to take matters into their own hands because animal control can't respond to calls fast enough.

"I had my two babies. They were right there at the door so he wouldn't get me or my kids, I shot him, put him down," said a homeowner who did not want to give Local 2 her name.

The woman says she shot and killed a stray pit bull Monday morning. Her neighbor called 911.

"By the dog being loose and vicious, I was afraid he was going to attack some of the people walking to the bus stop and the children walking to school," Carolyn said.

Right now, animal control is averaging more calls than usual, anywhere from 250 to 400 a day. There are only enough officers to handle a fraction of that number, about 50 calls a day. On average, there may be six or seven animal control officers working the streets of Houston each day but there have been as few as three on any given day.

"It's something that the city council, so far, has understood, they need to address it and it's an emerging problem. It's serious," said Chris Newport with BARC.

While BARC's budget has nearly doubled since the city overhauled and turned it around nearly four years ago, Houston is over 600 square miles and there's not enough money to meet the current call demand.

Meantime, with so few animal control officers on the street, BARC is rolling out several new projects including targeted vaccinations in neighborhoods with a high call volume and by education through enforcement.