EL PASO, Texas - Early Thursday morning, a San Elizario family found 14 of their sheep massacred. At first they blamed a pack of wild dogs, but learned it was the jaws of domesticated dogs that tore apart their herd.
At 5:30 in the morning the Barrosos awoke to the sound of barking. They ran outside to see what the commotion was but it was too late.
"We have 10 little ones that have been killed," said resident Arely Barroso. "We have pregnant ones that were almost due that have been killed. And there's nothing we can enforce in it because we can't find dogs."
The loss will cost as high as $1,500 and all because of dogs, not wild, but domesticated dogs, that are allowed to run free.
"A lot of neighbors have complained about dogs doing damages not only to their animals but also to their properties," Barroso said. "There hasn't really been much of a follow up on it or anything like that."
While some people enjoy the laxer laws of the county, some residents said it's the little things like litter and loose dogs that is only getting worse without enforcement.
"We don't have a leash law here in the county and if you go down the street, you're going to see dogs running loose and we should have the same laws as the city," said resident Silvestre Trujillo.
Humane Society Executive Director Betty Hoover says loose, domesticated dogs can turn vicious if they team up.
"By natural order dogs are going to seek each other out because they're very pack-oriented," Hoover said. "If they don't have a human pack to attach to they're going to attach to a canine pack and their natural instincts for hunting and killing are going to take over."
The Barrosos have filed a police report and animal control has set traps, but Trujillos said it's the owners who should take responsibility and the county who has to make them.
Trujillo was asked if he felt San Eli's issues could be solved if Socorro annexed the area and provided more police services. He said no and he said incorporating wouldn't change anything either.
Trujillo said residents just need to be better educated on being good neighbors and lock their dogs up at night.