Dallas votes to crack down on owners of dangerous dogs

The Dallas City Council voted in favor of strengthening its dangerous dog ordinance on Wednesday.

The approval, 11-1, comes in the wake of incidents that have injured and killed some who became the victims of loose dog attacks. A first offense is a misdemeanor and a second offense for a dog attack could result now in felony charges.

The incident that catapulted the issue to the attention of city leaders was the 2016 fatal dog mauling of an Army veteran. She was attacked by a pack of loose dogs in Fair Park.

In a more recent case, home surveillance video captured the moment two loose dogs suddenly attacked a Dallas mail carrier walking his route. Dallas Animal Services points out it took 15 minutes to catch the dogs and the mail carrier was seriously hurt.

The owner surrendered the animals and the case was closed. But the changes toughen the current ordinance and hold owners accountable, subject to citations or charges. In addition to the current ordinance, it provides a clear definition of an aggressive dog, outlines requirements and establishes a criminal penalty for dog bites.

Dallas Animal Services Director Ed Jaminson, who pushed for the changes, hopes this can help the city crackdown on bad owners.

"The endgame we're hoping for is more responsible ownership," Jaminson said.