Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in the Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Imagine Englewood If, a youth services organization based in that South Side neighborhood.
The dog had white and gray fur, and blue piercing eyes. Its teeth were long and yellow. The ears on its head were perked up. The dog’s face looked angry and determined to kill.
I encountered this dog while walking out of my house on a normal day to school. I was about a block from my home when the dog came around the corner. When I saw him, I quickly stopped walking, attracting his attention. The dog gazed at me, like a wolf staring at a deer in the forest.
As we locked eyes, he made the first move and circled me about three times before he sniffed my leg and shoes. I felt an urge to run but I knew what would happen next – he would kill me.
The dog was dirty, with no collar, no leash and no owner signaling to me he was owned by someone. I believe the dog was a stray.
In Englewood, whether stray dogs are a problem or not depends on who you ask.
On a recent Saturday, I interviewed several Englewood residents in the neighborhood’s Ogden Park, who gave their opinions on stray dogs.
Jayla White, a 17 year old from Englewood, said she doesn’t think stray dogs are a problem in the community, adding that she doesn’t see a lot of stray dogs. But White recognized that dogs in general can be scary.
“Dogs can turn on you and bite you,” she said.
But Keke, a mother and grandmother, feels that stray dogs are definitely an issue.
“They shouldn’t be off leashes. They should be in shelters,” she said.
Chardonnae Nash, who is 13, doesn’t see many stray dogs but she did once have a terrifying experience with a dog.
“I saw a dog with its owner before, and it was off the leash and tried to attack me,” she said.
It’s clear that Englewood residents have diverse opinions about stray dogs but I think they are a big problem in the neighborhood.
I see stray dogs all the time. I see them on my way to school, leaving the park, outside of stores, in alleys, and in people’s yards at night. Stray dogs make a simple walk in the neighborhood a scary experience.
Thankfully, that stray dog didn’t attack me on spot but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen the next time. That’s why stray dogs should be dealt with immediately, so that no one will be hurt by them.
Tags: chicago youth, crime, dangerous dogs, violence, youth
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