EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Pasoans gathered at City Hall Tuesday, Aug. 29, to voice their concerns and opinions on stray, loose and abandoned animals in El Paso.

Dozens of El Pasoans showed up to express their opinions and concerns about what they called an ongoing issue, some saying it has reached “crisis” proportions.

“The citizens of El Paso are sick and tired of City Council not addressing the loose and stray dogs crisis that we’re having in the city of El Paso,” protestor Rene Corral said.

Corral told KTSM they are asking City Council to stop the “no intake” rule that Animal Services allegedly has in place.

Corral said it’s been seven months since Animal Services had a distemper outbreak and stopped taking animals in.

“We’ve never been closed, but we did reduce the intake due to distemper,” said Terry Kebschull, director of El Paso Animal Services.

Corral said the crisis is unacceptable for a city the size of El Paso.

He also said these animals that are out in the street can form dangerous packs and spread diseases.

Kebschull said they take in all animals but those that are a threat to the public or severely injured are given priority.

Kebschull also said if someone encounters a stray animal, they ask that they hold onto the pet until Animal Services can arrive.

Corral says he’s been told to put animals back on the street.

“The root cause of the problem is spay and neuter. Enforcement of current laws, including cracking down on backyard breeders and irresponsible pet owners. That’s the key. That’s how we avoid this in the future. But we got to act now,” Corra said.

Corral said they are going to keep fighting and that this issue cannot be ignored.

To learn more about Animal Services, click here.