Complaints Dallas Aggressive Dog Enforcement is Too Aggressive

Dallas Animal Services Director Welcome Review of Enforcement Policy

Several Dog owners went to Dallas City Hall Wednesday to complain that Dallas Animal Services aggressive dog enforcement is too aggressive.

In response, the DAS Director welcomed a review of his policies.

Jim Humrichouse said his dog Peppa got loose and into a fight recently. He said the city unfairly treated it like a dog bite case.

"Dallas Animal Services and DPD showed up, 5 officers combined, two squad cars and a paddy wagon and two of those aggressive dog sticks. They show up in my yard with a warrant to take my dog for something my dog didn't do," he said. "In my personal case, they absolutely overreacted."

After an investigation, Humrichouse got Peppa back but he is required to have "Dangerous Dog" warning signs at his home.

Wednesday at the City Council meeting, Attorney Brad Friedman represented the owner of a dog named Chloe that was put down at the Dallas Animal Services Shelter by order of a Municipal Court Judge.

"We tell the Judge we're appealing. He puts the appeal bond in the order. I call DAS later that day and say, 'Hey just a reminder, we're going to appeal this case.' I got a call the next day saying, 'It's too late, we put Chloe down.' And it turns out they put Chloe down 43 minutes after the hearing," Friedman said.

Stephanie Timko, a member of the Animal Services Advisory Board, said she has heard many complaints about overly aggressive Animal Services enforcement, but Chloe's is the worst.

"A dog that had never bitten anyone. So that was kind of the last straw for me. This is so broken now, it just absolutely has to be fixed," Timko said. "What we're asking for is a complete audit of all dangerous dogs over the past two years so we can look and see where the City of Dallas may or may not be out of compliance with State Law and make adjustments to policy."

She and Attorney Friedman said Texas Law requires a 10 day waiting period after a court order before an animal can be put down.

"It does call for that in the state. We also have to follow orders when given from a court," Dallas Animal Services Director Ed Jamison said.

The August 21, 2019 order to put Chloe down said the dog had already been ruled as dangerous on March 25, 2019 but the owner failed to restrain or muzzle the dog and it was loose again.

"In any one of these cases, there is a victim. There is a person on the other side. We cannot proceed forward without an affidavit from the complaining party," Jamison said.

Dallas Animal Services has seven full time dangerous animal investigators and Jamison said the Dallas City Council authorized five more in the new city budget.

Humrichouse currently has five large dogs at this house. He said he rescues and fosters dogs.

Jamison said Peppa was not the only complaint from neighbors about Humrichouse.

"We've received multiple, multiple affidavits from animals attached to that home," Jamison said.

Dallas Animal Services has received very good reviews since the arrival of Ed Jamison from Cleveland two years ago. Records show great progress in reducing the number of stray dogs on the street and increasing the number adopted at the shelter.

"He's done a fabulous job," Timko said. "I'm thrilled. This dangerous dog subset is really a state law issue and the City of Dallas needs to comply fully with state law and not take any short cuts."

At Wednesday's City Council meeting, Councilman Adam Medrano praised DAS, but also called for a review of the pet owners complaints.

"We do know that we have some issues at DAS," Medrano said. "They're doing a great job. Don't get me wrong, but there are some things we can work on and I'm committing myself to work on that. I know there are other council members that want to help."

Jamison denied DAS has become too aggressive.

"Absolutely not. I welcome any looking into our processes. That is just absolutely not true. We are following the law literally to a 'T,'" he said.

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