LEAGUE CITY — The city is one step closer to making it easier to get dogs deemed dangerous off the streets. The City Council gave initial approval to a tougher vicious animal ordinance Tuesday.
Under the new rules, a dog declared dangerous dogs must-have a microchip tag implanted, wear a fluorescent orange collar that identifies the animal as dangerous and up-to-date photos of the animal would be on file with the city’s animal control.
Any dog declared dangerous also would be held at the city’s animal shelter until a court hearing is held to determine the dog’s future.
The dog’s owner would be required to send letters to all residents within 200 feet of where the animal lives that a dog deemed vicious lives nearby.
The revised ordinance also would ban any animal from living inside the city limits that was declared vicious or dangerous and was involved in an attack that caused serious injury or death of a person in another city.
City Manager Mark Rohr said that final rule may prove “tough to enforce,” but said a dog owner who is found to have violated the ordinance would face stiff penalties and risks losing the dog.
The ordinance, which also broadened the definition of what makes a dog vicious, comes about three months after a pit bull mauled a 2-year-old girl at a League City apartment complex.
The dog that attacked Mackenzi Plass and her mother, Chelsi Camp, 23, in March was a pit bull that belonged to Camp’s boyfriend. That dog was shot by police during the attack and later euthanized.
Dogbites.org, an advocacy group that tracks dog attacks in the United States, estimates that more than 80 percent of dog attacks that result in bodily injury come from pit bulls.
While pit bulls are considered more dangerous in many people’s minds, Rohr made it a point to note that the ordinance is not and won’t be breed-specific.
“All of the rules are based on the dog’s behavior,” he said.
For one, state law forbids breed-specific rules and secondly, Rohr said it covers any dog that could attack someone.
The new ordinance, which requires another council vote before becoming law, is aimed at keeping League City “an animal-friendly community that values our (residents) and their companion animals,” Rohr said.
By passing the ordinance, the city is hopeful that “responsible pet ownership will result in a safer environment for both people and pets,” he said.
Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.