Aggressive dog

Carrollton is looking to update its ordinance to address aggressive dogs.

Carrollton is working to update its dangerous dog ordinance to provide better protection against dog attacks, specifically attacks made on other dogs. 

Cory Heiple, environmental services director, updated the City Council recently on the proposed changes during the Nov. 19 meeting.

In the current ordinance, a dangerous dog is defined as a dog that has attacked or bitten any person more than once or has caused serious bodily injury. 

Heiple said there were 187 dog attacks on a person in fiscal year 2019, five of which resulted in serious injury. There were no deaths. During the same period, there were 60 dog attacks on another dog with one resulting in serious injury and three resulting in death. 

Heiple said the deaths have prompted the city staff to revise its ordinance. 

In the current ordinance, if a dog attacks a person an investigation occurs and citations are given as necessary. If the dog is deemed dangerous, the dog is impounded, and a court hearing is scheduled within 10 days. Then a judge decides if the dog should be euthanized or released. If a dog attacks another dog, an investigation of the incident occurs and citations are given as necessary. The owner is given the option to euthanize his or her dog. 

“Historically, we have had success with voluntary euthanasia, but we started to run into roadblocks where that was no longer an option,” Heiple said. 

The proposed ordinance creates a dog versus dog impoundment process as well as provides updated definitions of dangerous and vicious dogs. A dangerous dog would be defined as a dog that causes a bite injury to a person or animal. A vicious dog is defined as a dog that causes a serious bite injury or death to a person or animal. 

If a dog attacks a person or another dog, an investigation would be conducted and the dog would be classified as either dangerous, vicious or neither. If the dog is impounded a court hearing would be scheduled and a judge would decide if the dog should be euthanized or not. 

Heiple said the proposed ordinance provides better-defined impoundment and appeal processes as well as allows the city to better assess if a dog is dangerous or vicious. He also said it removes the immediate threat to public safety, provides due process and falls in line with Metroplex ordinance trends. 

The ordinance is resident and responsible dog-owner friendly and is only intended to target severe bites and injuries, Heiple said.

“We feel that we will best be able to address this (severe injuries) with a revised ordinance,” Heiple said. 

The staff will make necessary updates to the proposed ordinance and will bring a revised ordinance back to the council for approval. 

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