Update: The owner of the dogs that killed a South Dallas woman has a long history of violations, police say. The yet-unnamed owner had been housing dogs that had for years been terrorizing a neighborhood. Its residents had complained multiple times about the free-roaming packs of dogs, and many of the dogs had previously been confiscated from the address, police have confirmed. Police, in the days following the deadly attack, seized seven dogs from the residence. In 2010, records show the same owner surrendered 10 dogs after receiving many violation notices and complaint calls from neighbors. More complaints from neighbors began in July 2013, and dogs living at the same address attacked someone in 2015. Three dogs were seized and euthanized in the wake of that incident. Dogs seized this week will be tested for proof of involvement in the death of Antoinette Brown. The police are investigating the case. The owner is subject to criminal negligence and could be charged with a second-degree felony, due to the animals causing death. (If she had not died, the owner would only be subject to a third-degree felony charge.
If you’ve spent any amount of time on your neighborhood’s Nextdoor.com group or homeowners Facebook page, you know loose and/or stray dogs are a daily issue. Usually the posts are about harmless, friendly-enough, escape-artist pets. But the potential seriousness of the problem slapped our city in the face this week as a 52 year old woman was attacked, mauled and ultimately killed by a pack of loose, owned-by-a-South Dallas resident, dogs.
Mayor Mike Rawlings told WFAA he is pushing for better communication between Dallas Police and Animal Control. From the story: “He is also urging the City Manager to come up with new policies addressing aggressive animals. The mayor admits a recent pilot program to educate neighbors about loose and stray animals had its issues. Rawlings explained, ‘Look, this was put clearly on their agenda, to solve this problem this year. Obviously we haven’t, and we’ve got to deal with that.'”
Council member Tiffani Young tells the news station that she has been asking for a police task force to address the problem. “Pick up the dogs” she told press yesterday. That is what needs to happen, she says, a sweep by which all stray dogs are collected and sheltered.
Some experts call that a bandaid of sorts that will not solve the problem long term.
Animal shelter commission member Jean-Paul Bonnelly wrote an impassioned plea on Facebook regarding better ways to address problems.
“Most dog bites that happen by loose dogs are in fact owned dogs. Stray dogs, for the most part, don’t want to have anything to do with you … That means that sweeping up and killing as many dogs as possible does not solve or even address the problem. Do that and in 6 months, 1 year, the same damn problem will exist and the same damn conversation will be happening and I cannot understand why city council cannot get this through their heads,” she notes.
A better answer, she writes, is to hold responsible the “boneheads” who let their dogs roam the streets. That, and supporting the city’s Dallas Animal Services department.
“It is time to put pressure on our city leaders to get DAS the funding and resources they need to start making a bigger difference …”
There is no word yet on whether the owner of the dogs who attacked and killed South Dallas’ Antoinette Brown will face charges.
The mayor told NBC5 that City Manager A.C. Gonzalez is working on a new approach.
Dallas Police have not immediately responded to requests for comments.