New Dallas Animal Law Aims to Support Enforcement | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

New Dallas Animal Law Aims to Support Enforcement

Changes after woman's fatal mauling last year by loose dogs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dallas approved a new set of laws for animal services to support the crack down on loose dogs that's been underway since the death of a woman from a dog attack last year.

    (Published Wednesday, June 14, 2017)

    Dallas leaders have approved a new set of laws for animal services to support the crack down on loose dogs that's been underway since the death of a woman from a dog attack last year.

    Army veteran Antoinette Brown died in May 2016 after relatives said she had been bitten approximately 100 times by strays.

    "Antionette Brown's death changed everything, as it should have," said Dallas Animal Activist Stephanie Timko.

    The new laws approved Wednesday require microchips for animals instead of license tags as identification.

    Penalties for violations are increased and a new separated Dallas Animal Services Department is created to boost accountability and transparency. Dallas Animal Services is currently part of Dallas Code Enforcement. A Dallas police major is temporarily running animal services, but a new director will now be hired.

    Dallas City Councilwoman Sandy Greyson worked closely on the problem and the changes as leader of the City Council Quality of Life Committee.

    "It's a people problem, and it's a pet problem, and it's a loose dog problem, so it's hard to get a handle on all these different aspects. That's what we're trying to to do," Greyson said.

    Over the past year, figures show DAS has made significant improvement. Some recommendations from a consultant's study have already been adopted. Other are included in the law changes approved Wednesday.

    "We have picked up more loose dogs, we are having more citations given out, but we are also increasing the adoption rate at the same time. So all of these are positive aspects of the changes we are trying to make," Greyson said.

    Timko served on the Dallas Animal Shelter Advisory Commission during much of the deliberation about the new rules.

    "All this work requires strong ordinances, strong enforcement, strong community engagement and funding," she said.

    Timko has been patrolling neighborhoods as a volunteer to help explain the rules to residents and track problems.

    "What's more important than some of the language in the ordinance is whether or not it's enforced," Timko said.

    She's recorded addresses where pet owners are tethering dogs to address that situation.

    Dallas currently allows tethering for no more than three hours a day, but enforcement would require posting an officer at the location for at least three hours to see if the tether is released. The issue remains very controversial.

    No change was made to the tethering rules Wednesday. The City Council is still considering options of an outright ban on tethering or some other limits to see that animals are properly treated. Members plan to revisit the tethering issue in August.

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