Item 96, "Vicious Dog" amendments

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Louisa Brinsmade
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:27 pm

Item 96, "Vicious Dog" amendments

Post by Louisa Brinsmade »

On behalf of Council Member Pool:

Colleagues,

As we have a very large agenda, I want to offer a few details on Item 96, which amends language to the “Vicious Dog” section of our code. These recommendations are proposed by the Animal Advisory Commission and supported by our Animal Services Department. Here is a link to the changes: http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 152146.pdf

Currently we have both a “Vicious Dog” section, and, as required by the state, a “Dangerous Dog” section. The way our code is written now, “Vicious” refers to dogs that bite other animals and humans, and “Dangerous” refers to dogs that bite humans only. These definitions overlap and are causing confusion.

To clarify our code, we are modifying the definition of “Vicious Dogs” to mean dogs who bite other animals, not including humans.

In addition, our current “Vicious Dogs” section does not have any tools to remedy the situation; the only regulation is that the dog must be removed from the county. In contrast, the “Dangerous Dogs” section is more rigorous and solutions-oriented, providing regulations and tools such as registration and proof of vaccination, as well as proper restraining, fencing, and training for the dog.

Therefore, we are aligning our “Vicious Dog” section with the state’s more comprehensive “Dangerous Dog” approach, which will help dog owners as well as the Administrative Hearing Officers who handle these cases. This does not in any way change the current “Dangerous Dog” section of our code.

I hope this is helpful for understanding the value of these amendments, and I look forward to our discussions.

Leslie
Policy Advisor
Office of Leslie Pool, Council Member District 7
Sabino Pio Renteria
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:03 am

Re: Item 96, "Vicious Dog" amendments

Post by Sabino Pio Renteria »

Thank you for the helpful clarification, CM Pool.

I would also add that these proposed changes were unanimously approved by the Animal Advisory Commission on two separate occasions, once in 2021 and again this year. Both times consideration was given to whether the removal of language referencing humans from the "Vicious Dog" ordinance would create an enforcement gap for incidents involving dogs that bite humans. Both times is was made clear that, for the reasons you outlined regarding the "Dangerous Dog" section of our code, it would not and that these amendments are an overdue clarification that will reduce confusion and eliminate overlap.

I too look forward to our discussions and would welcome any of my colleagues who have questions to reach out to my office.

Pio
Council Member District 3
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