A new Dallas law threatens $500 fines for people who keep a lost animal without trying to find the rightful owner. The rules come after years of complaints from Brad Kirby who says two of his Huskies were stolen in 2007.
Kirby said the dogs were chained on a cool day in front of his business on Riverfront Boulevard where he said they enjoyed the fresh air. “You’re not rescuing a dog if you take it off the street and it has I-D and you don’t give it back to the people that own the dog. That’s stealing,” Kirby said.
Kirby said he knew where the dogs could be found after they were taken and he even sued the city last year after complaining that police did nothing to help him. Police said at the time there were not witnesses who saw the dogs were stolen and that there was no proof of a crime.
But Dallas City Council Members heard Kirby’s complaints and responded with the new law Wednesday. “It took us a while to work through and find a solution that wouldn’t penalize and put into jeopardy the ordinary citizen that picks up a stray dog, and says ‘gee, let me just keep it and give it a good home.’ Those people can still to that,” Councilman Ron Natinsky said.
But first, the finder of a lost or stray animal must at least call the phone number on a tag, contact a vet to see if the animal has a microchip ID, or contact Dallas Animal Control to file a report. “I know a lot of people in your audience, they’ve lost their dog, that’s a big deal,” said Mayor Tom Leppert.
Another Dallas law passed since the time Brad Kirby’s dog’s disappeared could have charged him with a crime. Recently the city made it illegal to leave an animal chained outside. But Kirby says he will now work to see the new lost animal rules extended to other cities and the entire State of Texas. “Some effort to try to find the owner, that’s all I’ve been asking for,” Kirby said.