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CCACS proposes stricter ‘Vicious Dog Ordinance’

Posted at 6:16 PM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 19:24:19-04

City ordinances already include strict penalties if your dog attacks a person. The Corpus Christi City Council will consider a proposed new ordinance that would carry serious consequences for the owners of dogs that attack other animals.

Mike Gillis, director of the city’s Animal Care Services, said his employees respond to at least two calls a month about a loose dog attacking and killing a family pet.

Under current city ordinances, dog owners only pay a fine if their dog attacks another animal.

Gillis said it’s time for a change.

“It’s more to hold our pet owners accountable right now, because right now there is no accountability,” Gillis said. “If I let my dog out and it kills another dog, big deal. I’m gonna get a ticket because my dog wasn’t on a leash.”

The ordinance CCACS is proposing would result in court appearances and the possibility of an owner having to get rid of their dog.

Under the new guidelines, Animal Care Services would respond to an initial call of an animal attack. From there, ACS workers would obtain proper paperwork proving the injury or death of another animal and take that case to court.

A judge would then decide whether or not to deem that dog “vicious.” If vicious behavior is determined, the consequences would be swift and severe.

“The owners would either have to re-home that animal outside of city limits, or they could have to turn it over to Animal Care Services and then, Animal Care Services would work with rescues and adopters outside of the city to take that dog,” Gillis said.

That owner would then have 10 days to find the dog a new home or surrender it to Animal Care Services.

Gillis enforced the same ordinance at his previous job in Austin, and said it’s important to hold dog owners liable for their pet’s behavior.

“That’s not fair,” Gillis said. “If I was on the other side of that and I’m out walking my dog on a leash and an unrestrained dog were to attack my little 14-pound dog, I’d be devastated.”

Council members heard this proposed ordinance for the first time Tuesday. If passed, it will still have to be approved during a second reading.