Dallas panel approves proposals to combat stray animals, neglect
Dallas: Tighter limits target neglect, strays; council vote ahead
11:42 PM CST on Thursday, January 17, 2008
DAVE LEVINTHAL / The Dallas Morning News
Pet number limits. Mandatory spaying and neutering of most dogs and cats. A partial ban on chaining animals to trees or posts.
01/17/08: Dallas considering stiffer animal controls
These are among the recommendations Dallas' Animal Shelter Commission unanimously approved Thursday night, agreeing that the city's stray animal population is out of control and too many pets are being neglected by owners.
The Dallas City Council-appointed commission's suggestions, made in conjunction with city staff members, will be sent to the council's quality of life and government services committee for a formal hearing and vote. The full council serves as final arbiter on whether animal control ordinances should be created or amended.
The commission's recommendations include:
•Prohibiting city residents from chaining or otherwise tethering their dogs to trees or posts without supervision, arguing that the practice often causes animals to become aggressive or injured and leads to neglect. City animal division manager Willie McDaniel warned that some dog owners will respond by letting their dogs run free.
"We will get swamped with loose animals. That will happen," Mr. McDaniel said. "But we can't continue to do what we've been doing. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."
•Requiring all dogs and cats to be spayed and neutered, except those owned by people with breeder permits issued by the city government. Animals under 4 months old and those exhibiting applicable medical conditions would also be exempt. Breeder permits would cost $500 annually and would subject those in possession to random city inspections.
•Allowing city residents to keep no more than six dogs, cats or a combination in a single-family home. Animal foster or rescue operations could keep more upon obtaining permission from the city's animal services director. People with more than six animals would be grandfathered, meaning they would not have to give up pets they own.
•Allowing the city to immediately seize animals deemed dangerous, such as those that have attacked a person without provocation.
Commission Chairman Skip Trimble said the recommendations are the body's best effort to address complex problems.
"In the long run, I think they should help animal control, and it will therefore help the neighborhoods," he said, adding that he doesn't expect the council to formally take up the recommendations until next month at the earliest.