Like Houston, now Dallas dog owners can be held accountable if their pet is deemed dangerous. The new ordinance also sets up a criminal penalty for dog bites.
Corey Steele with Harris County Public Health said in unincorporated Harris County, it's up to residents to file an affidavit for a judge to deem a dog dangerous.
“The affidavit can be done if they feel like they’ve been threatened by an animal or bite, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bite to file a dangerous dog,” said Steele. “With us being unincorporated Harris County, we can’t implement any new criminal penalities, other than those adopted by the statutes or Texas Constitution.”
Within 10 days there's a hearing with a judge.
Jarrad Mears with Animal Enforcement for Barc said Houston's dangerous dog ordinance mirrors the state's and Harris County's.
“We do hold dog owners accountable and each situation is different,” said Mears. “Obviously, if we’re seizing a dog that’s caused death or serious bodily injury to a person, that could result in some pretty serious charges on the owner.”
There currently aren't any plans to change Houston's ordinances anytime soon.
Dallas’ ordinance now clearly defines an aggressive dog and sets up a criminal penalty for dog bites. A first offense is a misdemeanor, and a second offense could now be a felony.
You can see the locations of dangerous dogs in Harris County, as well as how to file an affidavit.