Verify: Can violent dogs be seized by animal control?

Neighbors in Oak Forest are angry and frustrated after a pit bull killed a Chihuahua, then went back to its owner. We looked into the laws that protect dogs and their owners even after they become violent.

HOUSTON - A recent deadly pit bull attack in Oak Forest is causing a lot of anger and frustration.

A man was out walking his Chihuahua late last month when a neighbor’s pit bull chewed through the fence and attacked the little dog. The owner was bit trying to break up the fight, and the Chihuahua died.

Even so, animal control recently returned the pit bull to his owners.

Now, neighbors are asking why the seemingly dangerous dog was allowed back on their block?

According to BARC, pets are considered property in the state of Texas. As a result, the City of Houston cannot legally seize a dog after an animal-on-animal attack.

Pets can only be seized if a person is injured in the attack.

If that happens, there are two different ways animal control can seize a dog: 

  • The dog bite must cause serious bodily injury to a person.
  • The person bit must file a complaint with BARC to declare it a dangerous dog, an aggressive dog or a public nuisance dog.

Since neither of those things happened, the pit bull in Oak Forest was returned to its owners.

BARC officials say owners were only able to pick up the dog after it was quarantined for 240 hours and tested for rabies. Owners also had to pay a $322 quarantine fee.

For more information on dangerous, aggressive and public nuisance dogs, click here.

VERIFY source:

Jarrad Mears, BARC Animal Control Division Manager

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© 2017 KHOU-TV


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