Beaumont Dog Bite Lawyer | Beaumont Dog Mauling Lawsuit | Beaumont Dog Attack Attorney
Jefferson County Dog Bite Accident Attorney
Dangerous Dog Facts:
- An estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year;
- Approximately 334,000 people are admitted to US emergency rooms annually with dog bite-associated injuries, and another 466,000 are seen in other medical settings;
- An unknown number of other people who have been bitten do not sustain injuries deemed serious enough to require medical attention;
- Almost half of all persons bitten are children younger than 12 years old; and
- People more than 70 years old comprise 10% of those bitten and 20% of those killed.
According to Zoonosis Control Division of the Texas Department of Health, domesticated dogs comprise most the dog bites in any given year. Even more shocking, Texas was the leader in dog bite fatalities in 2007, with seven fatalities stemming from dog bites that year alone. There is a regional Zoonosis office in Houston located at Texas Department of State Health Services, Zoonosis Control, 5425 Polk Avenue, Suite J, Houston, Texas 77023-1497, Phone: (713) 767-3300 for all of your needs and questions.
Responsible Dog Ownership in Beaumont Definitely Can Reduce Beaumont Dog Bites
As so many things in life, dog bites can be reduced by what happens in the home. A dog is not always the one to blame in the instance of a dog attack or dog bite injury. Many owners use their dogs for illegal dog fights and these dogs are victimized every bit as much as the victims of their attacks, and they too are often severely injured or even killed in dog fighting rings as they fight for their lives. Negligent and abusive dog owners should be held liable for their actions. A decision to be a responsible dog is a personal decision and one that requires responsibility. There are many places in and around Beaumont, Texas to have your dog trained for obedience. Dog owners are also able to take their dog to an area designated for dogs to play. Dog parks are there so that the owner can take their dog to an area where they can run around and play in an fenced-in and safe place. Dog parks are a responsible place to take your pet to ensure that when they are running off their leash that they will not run away from you and/or cause harm to a person or another animal. Some Dog Training Facilities and Dog Park locations in the General Beaumont Area include:
Petco Animal Supplies - Beaumont
K-9 Dog Obedience
All About the Dog
Gulf Coast RV
5175 Brooks Road
Beaumont, TX 77705
18 Shades of Grey
32 Heritage Drive
Vidor, TX 77662
Dogs should be trained and any sense of aggressive behavior exhibited by a dog should be immediately attended to by the pet owner in order to avoid a future incident. What it boils down to is that if you or a loved one have been bitten, attacked, maimed, or killed by a dog or other animal, you should be entitled to some degree of compensation from the animal’s owner or handler. Contact one of the experienced Beaumont dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.
Texas’s “One Bite” Rule & Dog Bite Claims Based on Negligence
Texas follows the arcane “one bite rule.” This means that a pet owner is liable when:
- the owner knew that the dog had bitten someone before or had a “dangerous propensity” for biting;
- the bite was caused by the negligence of the person handling the dog;
- the bite was caused by a violation of a leash law, prohibition against dogs trespassing or running at large, or a similar animal control law; or,
- the bite injury was caused intentionally by the owner or person handling the dog.
When it cannot be proved that the dog’s owner or handler knew of the dog’s propensity to bite, negligence can form the basis of a claim. An example of a negligence-based claim could occur when the owner of a dog whose breed is notorious for its violent propensities — such as a pit bull, Rottweiler, or German Shepherd — allows their dog to run loose in a children’s park or other public area without supervision. The dog’s owner will be held liable based on negligence if the dog bites a child in the park.
However, a person does not have to be the dog’s owner to be held liable for a bite victim’s injuries. A child bitten at a day care facility for dogs could, through the child’s parents, make a claim against the pet care center, even though the dog was owned by a third party who was absent at the time of the bite. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, you should contact a Beaumont dog bite attorney to pursue your personal injury claims. Even if the dog has no prior history of aggression and has never bitten anyone before, Texas’s “one bite rule” may allow a Beaumont dog bite injury lawyer to fight your claim successfully, and you deserve compensation for your injuries.
Beaumont Negligence Per Se Dog Bite Lawyer
When a statute or ordinance is violated and the violation leads to an injury, this is called negligence per se.
Negligence per se is frequently found in cases of dog bites, dog maulings, and dog attacks, often resulting from a violation of:
- leash laws;
- dog trespass laws; or,
- no “free-run” laws.
Usually, these types of dog control laws and ordinances are only found in large Texas cities; however, Beaumont has an ordinance requiring that dogs be "restrained" at all times. Furthermore, Beaumont requires that all dogs over four months of age be licensed with the city officials. If you or a loved one has been bitten or mauled by a dog running loose in violation of the law of Beaumont or Jefferson County, you should contact a local Beaumont dog bite attorney immediately.
Lillian’s Law (H.B. 1355)
The so-called “Lillian Stiles Law,” sponsored by Senator Eliot Shapleigh and passed in 2007, increases the jail time for owners who fail to secure their dogs in a reasonable manner, resulting in serious bodily injury or death to another. Under the law, a dog owner will be charged with a third-degree felony if their dog causes serious bodily injury to a victim during an unprovoked attack. A third-degree felony is punishable by 2-10 years of prison time as well as a potential fine of up to $10,000. If the victim dies from an unprovoked dog attack, H.B. 1355 would impose a charge of second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Click here for more information on the passage of Lillian’s Law,
Texas still allows a dog to be chained up, which is not only bad policy, but also dangerous to children and others who are routinely attacked by dogs that have been chained. Lillian’s law helps protect Beaumont residents from dogs that attack when not reasonably secured and allows Beaumont dog bite lawyers to sue the dog owners despite lack of previous history of aggression or any provocation from the injury victim. Call a Beaumont dog bite lawyer today.
Some of Texas' Laws on Dog Bites
Some of the laws are found in the Texas Health & Safety Code, Title 10, Chapter 822 Regulation of Animals:
- Subchapter A General Provisions; Dogs That Attack Persons or Are a Danger to Persons;
Subchapter D Dangerous Dogs;
- 822.041. Definitions;
- 822.042. Requirements for Owner of Dangerous Dog;
- 822.0421. Determination That Dog is Dangerous;
- 822.0422. Reporting of Incident in Certain Counties and Municipalities;
- 822.0423. Hearing;
- 822.043. Registration;
- 822.044. Attack by Dangerous Dog;
- 822.045. Violations;
- 822.046. Defense; and
- 822.047. Local Regulation of Dangerous Dogs
Jefferson County Dangerous Dog Laws
Ordinance: Policy Manual, Part 3 Regulations, Chapter 5 Animals, Section 1 Animal Control Regulation
A. Definitions: As used in this ordinance, the following words shall have the following meaning:
- "Abandon" means the leaving of an animal for more than twenty-four (24) hours by its owner or other person responsible for its care or custody without making effective provisions for its proper care.
- "Animal" means any living dumb creature.
- "Animal Control Officer" means any person empowered by Jefferson County to enforce the provisions of this regulation, and peace officers as defined in Section 18-1-901, C.R.S., as amended and pursuant to Section 30-15-105 and 30-15-102, C.R.S., as amended.
- "Animal Shelter" means the authorized impoundment facility established through an intergovernmental agreement with the County.
- "Attack" means an assault against a person by a dog whereby physical contact is made in an apparently hostile manner.
- "Barking Dog" means any dog, whether on or off the dog owner's premises, that disturbs the peace of any person by loud, habitual and persistent barking, howling, yelping or whining.
- "Bodily Injury" means an injury to a person caused by a dog whereby, at a minimum, the skin is broken, exterior bleeding occurs, or medical treatment by a licensed physician is reasonably necessary.
- "Control" means physical control of a dog by means of a leash, cord or chain no longer than ten (10) feet in length except when the dog is actually working livestock, locating or retrieving wild game in season for a licensed hunter, or assisting law enforcement officers, or while actually being trained for any of these specifically enumerated pursuits.
- "County" means the unincorporated portion of Jefferson County.
- "Cruelty to Animals" means to knowingly or with criminal negligence, overdrive, overload, overwork, torture, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beat, needlessly mutilate, needlessly kill, carry in or upon any vehicle in a cruel manner, or otherwise mistreat or neglect any animal or cause or procure it to be done, or having the charge and custody of any animal, fail to provide it with proper food, drink or protection from the weather, or abandon it. See C.R.S. Sections 35-42-107(2) and 18-9-202.
- "Dog" means any animal of the Canis Familiaris species, including wolves or wolf hybrids.
- "Dog at Large" means a dog that is off the premises of the dog owner, not under control and the owner is not observed to be within sight of his/her dog.
- "Dog Owner" means any person 18 years of age or older who owns, controls, keeps, harbors, has custody of a dog or any person who allows a dog to remain on or about his/her premises; or the parent or guardian of any child under the age of 18 years, who owns, keeps, controls, harbors, has custody of a dog or any person who allows a dog to remain on or about his/her premises.
- "Encroachment" means a dog that harasses or threatens passersby or property owners by encroaching on public or private property while leaning on, over, or through fences, walls, or property lines or unattended dogs chained or tied in public areas or in the common ground of condominiums, town homes, apartment complexes and mobile home parks. Encroachment shall be considered a dog at large violation for the purposes of enforcing these regulations (dog at large, biting, and other violations).
- "Female Dog in Season" means any unaltered female dog in the state of estrus (heat).
- "Guard Dog" means any dog placed or kept upon any non-residential property, or property used in whole or in part for any business, that is there to protect persons or property, whether or not trained for these pursuits; all dogs trained for police canine work; and all dogs trained for attack and protection kept at any location within the County.
- "Harboring" means occupying any premises on which an animal is kept, or to which an animal customarily returns for food and care. Persons harboring a dog shall be subject to the provisions of this regulation applicable to dog owners.
- "Immediate Area" means within three (3) blocks or one-quarter (1/4) mile radius.
- "License or Licensed" means a current Jefferson County dog license indicating that the dog has been registered with the Jefferson County Animal Control Department within 365 days prior to licensing.
- "Licensed Facility" means a kennel, boarding or breeding facility duly registered and regulated by any state or local governmental entity with jurisdiction to so license.
- "Licensed Facility Owners" means persons who own dogs for the purpose of adoption, breeding, boarding, grooming, handling, selling, sheltering, trading or transferring, that are licensed, inspected, or both, by the United States Department of Agriculture, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, or both.
- "Mistreatment" means every act or omission that causes or unreasonably permits the continuation of unnecessary or unjustifiable pain or suffering.
- "Neglect" means failure to provide food, water, protection from the elements, opportunity for exercise, or other care normal, usual and proper for an animal's health and well being.
- "Neighborhood Nuisance" means any female dog in season which is not confined and that is attracting other stray dog(s) who bark, fight, roam, or loiter or otherwise cause a threat to public health, welfare or safety.
- "Nuisance Dog" means any dog which, while off the dog owner's premises, in a dangerous, threatening, or terrorizing manner approaches a person with an apparent attitude of attack, or any dog while off the dog owner's premises which in a dangerous, threatening or terrorizing manner, pursues or harasses another animal without causing injury.
- "Off Leash" means a dog that is off the owner’s premises and not under control, but the owner is observed to be present and within visual sight of his/her dog.
- "Open Space Lands" means all public recreation lands, waters or facilities owned or operated by Jefferson County which have been purchased with Open Space funds or are managed or administrated by the Jefferson County Open Space Program, but not including lands managed, operated or administrated by an entity other than Jefferson County Open Space.
- "Premises" means the property of the dog owner but not including public or private thoroughfares, areas over which there is an access easement, common areas of apartments, townhouses, condominiums, trailer parks, greenbelts, parks or other areas commonly used by people other than the dog owner.
- "Property Damage" means any property damage caused by a dog at large or while violating the leash law whereby the replacement or repair of the property exceeds $50.00.
- "Quarantine" means confinement for a minimum of ten (10) days of an animal whose bite has caused bodily injury.
"Registered Guard Dog" means any guard dog registered annually with the Jefferson County Animal Control Department by providing the following information.
- Owner's name, home address, home and business telephone numbers;
- Dog's name, age, sex and physical description;A current rabies tag number and veterinarian's name, address and telephone number;
- A list and description of commands known by the dog;
- A description of the training given to the dog including dates and name and telephone number of trainer; and
- The name, address and telephone number for an alternative person to contact regarding the dog in the owner's absence.
- "Vicious Dog" means any dog which, while off the dog owner’s premises, in a dangerous, threatening or terrorizing manner attacks a person without causing bodily injury, or any dog while off the dog owner’s premises which causes injury to, or kills another animal.
Note: The owner of a dog causing injury or death to a person or domestic animal, or showing tendencies to do so or a dog trained or engaged in animal fighting may be prosecuted under Section 18-9-204.5, C.R.S., Unlawful Ownership of a Dangerous Dog.
B. Duties of the Animal Control Officers.
- The Animal Control Director and Animal Control Officers shall have the duty and the authority to enforce all sections of this regulation which pertain to animals. Open Space personnel designated by the Director of Open Space and trained by Jefferson County Animal Control shall have the duty and authority to enforce all sections of this regulation on Open Space lands.
- Pursuant to the provisions of C.R.S. 30-15-102 and 30-15-105 the Animal Control Director and Animal Control Officers, Sheriff's Deputies and Open Space personnel designated by the Open Space Director are hereby designated and authorized to issue, sign and serve summons and complaints in order to enforce the provisions of this regulation and to make all administrative determinations required by this regulation.
It shall be lawful for the Animal Control Director, an Animal Control Officer or a Sheriff's Deputy (hereinafter "officer") to go upon private property to capture an animal to be impounded for violation of this regulation if:
a. The officer has obtained a search warrant, or
b. The officer has obtained consent of the owner or authorized agent of the property, or
c. The officer is in pursuit of an animal, which is or has been at large. (Nothing in this sub-paragraph three shall authorize entry into any enclosed building on private property.)
d. Nothing in this regulation shall be construed to prevent an Animal Control Officer from taking whatever action is reasonably necessary to protect his person, members of the public, or another animal from injury from any dog.
- It shall be lawful for designated Open Space park personnel to capture an animal to be impounded for violation of this regulation on Open Space lands.
- It shall be the duty of the Animal Control Director to keep or cause to be kept, accurate, detailed, and complete records of all complaints, warnings and violations of this regulation.
C. Licensing, Rabies Control and Biting.
A dog license shall be required for each dog over the age of four (4) months, residing in unincorporated Jefferson County to promote responsible pet ownership and animal welfare.
a. The Jefferson County Animal Control Department will administer the dog-licensing program and distribute the dog licenses. All records relating to the dog-licensing program will be maintained by the Jefferson County Animal
b. To obtain a dog license, a dog owner must submit proof of a rabies vaccination administered by a licensed veterinarian within 365 days prior to licensing, or, if a booster vaccination, within the time period recommended by the
annual compendium of animal rabies control. The dog owner shall also pay a licensing fee of $15.00 for a spayed/neutered dog, and $30.00 for an unaltered dog. Owners of service dogs (as defined in State and Federal Statutes)
will be exempt from the annual license fee as to the extent provided by State and Federal legislation.
c. A dog owner must renew this dog license once every 365 days.
d. Proof of spay/neuter from a licensed veterinarian is required to be eligible for a reduced license fee.
e. A dog owner may request an exemption to these provisions and request a reduced license fee if, for medical reasons, his/her dog cannot bevaccinated or spayed/neutered. In this event, a dog owner must submit an affidavit from a licensed veterinarian stating the reasons why he dog is unable to be vaccinated or spayed/neutered.
f. Licensed facility owners as defined in this regulation shall be exempt from the license fee provided they submit proof of licensing by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Licensed facility owners shall be subject to all other licensing provisions, as set forth in this regulation.
Failure to have a Jefferson County Dog License.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she fails to obtain a license from the Jefferson County Animal Control Department for any dog that is four months old or older.
No License Tag Attached To Dog.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she fails to attach the County license tag to his/her dog by means of a collar or harness. The license does not need to be attached by means of a collar or harness when the dog is on the dog owner's premises, at a local or national dog association competitive event or at a licensed facility. Dogs that do not have the license tag attached to the collar (when on the dog owner's premises or at the local or national dog association competitive event or at a licensed facility) must have an implanted microchip that identifies the dog owner.
Misrepresentation of Licensing.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a., if a tag evidencing licensing for another dog is affixed to the collar of his/her dog.
Duty to Report Animal Bite.
Any person having knowledge of a dog or cat bite causing bodily injury to a person shall report the incident to the Animal Control Department as set forth below. Every physician or other medical practitioner who attends and treats a person or persons for a bite inflicted by a dog or cat shall report such treatment to the Animal Control Department within twenty-four (24) hours of the treatment. This report shall include the name, address and phone number of all persons treated. When no physician attends, the parent or guardian of any child bitten, when the bite caused bodily injury, shall, within twenty-four (24) hours after first having the knowledge that the child was bitten make a complete report. When no physician attends a bitten adult, when the bite causes bodily injury, the adult or person caring for him/her shall make the report.
Failure to Report Animal Bite.
A person (over 18 or guardian of a minor) commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a., if he/she fails or refuses to report to the animal control officer a dog or cat bite which causes bodily injury to a person within twenty-four (24) hours of occurrence. A complete report must include the dog/cat owner name, address, and phone number and specific information regarding the bite. Each day of such failure or refusal shall constitute a separate violation.
Biting Animals – Quarantine.
Any dog, cat, ferret, or other animal, that has bitten or is suspected of having bitten a person causing bodily injury and has been determined by either the Jefferson County Department of Health and Environment or the Colorado Department of Health and Environment to need to be quarantined, shall be immediately confined for a minimum of ten (10) days from the date of the bite to be observed for symptoms of rabies. During the quarantine period, the animal may not be taken for a walk, taken on vacation, sold, given away, euthanized, killed, relocated or allowed contact with people or animals other than those with whom it resides. The quarantine location is to be at the discretion of the Jefferson County Animal Control Department. Any costs incurred as a result of any quarantine are the sole responsibility of the animal owner.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a., if his/her dog or cat violates the quarantine requirements.
Duty to Produce Animal – Quarantine.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a., if he/she refuses to produce a dog or cat that has bitten, or is suspected of having bitten a person causing bodily injury. Each day of such refusal shall constitute a separate violation.
Dogs at Large, Dogs Off Leash and Biting Dogs.
a. Dog at Large.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if his/her dog is at large in the County or commits an encroachment as defined by this regulation.
b. Dog at Large or Encroachment and Biting.
A dog owner commits a Class II Misdemeanor punishable under E.5.b.if his/her dog is at large in the County and bites a person causing bodily injury, or commits an encroachment and bites a person causing bodily injury.
c. Unlicensed Dog and Biting.
A dog owner commits a Class II Misdemeanor punishable under E.5.b.if his/her dog bites a person causing bodily injury, and said dog has not been licensed.
d. Dog Biting Off Premises and Under Owner's Control.
A dog owner commits a Class II Misdemeanor punishable under E.5.b.if his/her dog bites a person causing bodily injury while off the dog owner's premises and under the control of the dog owner.
e. An affirmative defense to a violation of D.1.cor D.1.d. shall be:
(1) at the time of the bite, the victim was committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense against the dog's owner; or
(2) at the time of the bite, the victim tormented, provoked, abused, or inflicted injury upon the dog in an extreme manner, which resulted in the bite.
f. Dog Off Leash.
Except as permitted in designated locations, a dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if his/her dog is off leash.
g. Dog Off Leash and Biting.
A dog owner commits a Class II Misdemeanor punishable under E.5.b. if his/her dog bites a person causing bodily injury while the dog is off leash.
Nuisance Dogs and Dogs At Large Causing Bodily Injury.
a. Nuisance Dog.
A person commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she owns, harbors, keeps, controls or has custody of a nuisance dog as defined in this regulation.
b. Dog Off Leash or Dog At Large and Dog Causes Bodily Injury.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if his/her dog is off leash or is at large in the County or commits encroachment and, as a result of either of the foregoing, a person sustains bodily injury other than a dog bite (i.e., an injury sustained in the process of avoiding, retreating from, or impounding a loose dog).
c. Vicious Dog.
A person commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she owns, harbors, keeps, controls or has custody of a vicious dog as defined in this regulation.
d. Dog at Large or Off Leash or Encroachment Causing Property Damage.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if his/her dog is at large or off leash or commits encroachment and, as a result of any one of the foregoing, causes property damage as defined in this regulation.
Habitual and Persistent Barking Dog.
a. Harboring a Habitual and Persistent Barking Dog.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.(8) if he/she fails to prevent his/her dog from disturbing the peace of any person by loud, habitual and persistent barking, howling, yelping, or whining, whether the dog is on or off the dog owner's property.
b. Warning Notices.
An Animal Control Officer will issue a warning notice to the dog owner after receiving a complaint of a barking dog. The complainant must provide the dog owner’s address, dog description, and the date and duration of the violation. The dog owner will be allowed three days from issuance of the warning notice to correct the problem before being charged under the summons and complaint process.
c. Citations/Summons and Complaints.
After the three-day grace period and within 180 days after issuance of the warning notice, a citation, or summons and complaint may be issued if two persons from separate households have signed complaints and are willing to testify at trial. The complainants must provide the dog owners' address, dog description, date and duration of violation, but need not be reporting the same date and time of a violation. In the event there is only one occupied residence in the immediate area of the location of the barking dog, only one complaining witness shall be required to sign the complaint prior to the issuance of a summons and complaint if the complaining witness is willing to testify at trial.
d. Service of Warning Notices.
A dog owner shall be deemed to have received and been issued a warning under this subsection if the warning was personally served on the dog owner, posted on the residence of the dog owner, or placed in the U.S. Mail, postage prepaid and addressed to the dog owner. Warning notices so served shall constitute notice to all members of that residence.
e. Second Offense.
If a second complaint of a barking dog is received within 180 days of issuance of the first citation or summons and complaint, a citation or summons and complaint for a second offense may be issued without issuing a warning notice.
f. Proof Required for Conviction.
No person shall be convicted at trial of violating this section unless a person in the immediate area has signed a complaint and testified to the persistent, habitual, and offensive noise generated by a barking dog.
Section D.3.a. shall not apply to dogs working livestock, dogs locating or retrieving wild game in season for a licensed hunter, dogs assisting law enforcement officers, or dogs being trained for any of these pursuits. Further it shall not apply to licensed kennels, breeding, boarding and/or training facilities, or veterinary offices and hospitals, provided these facilities comply with all applicable zoning, commercial, and business regulations, laws and statutes.
a. Committing Cruelty to Animals.
A dog owner commits a Class I Misdemeanor under §18-9-202, C.R.S., if he/she commits Cruelty to Animals as defined in this regulation and by State law.
b. Unlawfully Harboring a Guard Dog.
Unlawfully Harboring a Guard Dog. A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she places or maintains a guard dog(s) on non-residential property or on property used in whole or in part for any business
unless the following conditions are met:
(1) The guard dog is registered with the Jefferson County Animal Control Department;
(2) Warning signs are conspicuously posted around the premises indicating the presence of a guard dog and such signs plainly show a telephone number where a person responsible for controlling the guard dog can be reached at all
times; and the guard dog is either:
(a) confined to an enclosed area adequate to ensure that it will not escape; or
(b) under the complete control of the handler at all times.
c. Unlawfully Harboring a Female Dog in Season.
(1) A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a.if he/she keeps, harbors, controls or has custody of any unaltered female dog in season unless the female dog in heat is confined during such period of time in a house, building or secure enclosure so that said dog shall not create a neighborhood nuisance.
The Animal Control Officer shall impound any unaltered female dog in season that is not adequately confined as provided for in D.4.c.(1), or any such dog that is creating a neighborhood nuisance. If necessary in the judgment of the Animal Control Director, the dog shall be removed to a boarding kennel, to a veterinary hospital, or the Animal Shelter. All expenses and or fees incurred as a result of the confinement shall be the sole responsibility of the dog owner.
d. Interference with an Animal Control Officer - No Bodily Injury.
A person commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if he/she interferes with, hinders, or obstructs an Animal Control Officer (not involving bodily injury) and knowing him/her to be an Animal Control Officer discharging his/her duties under this regulation.
e. Habitual Offender.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if he/she is convicted, pleads guilty to, enters a no contest plea, receives a deferred judgment, or arranges any plea bargain for violating any section of this regulation three or more times in any twelve month period.
f. Feces/Urine - Accumulation; Disposition.
An owner of dogs, cats or other household pets commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if the pet's owner allows excessive animal feces or urine to accumulate. The accumulation of animal excrement shall be deemed to be excessive if there is sufficient quantity to generate odors off the premises of the dog owner or, if in the judgment of the Animal Control Officer, the accumulation is detrimental to the health and well being of neighbors or the animals.
g. Failure to Redeem or Relinquish Animal from the Animal Impound Facility.
After notice by phone, mail or in person, a dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if he/she fails or refuses to redeem or legally relinquish his/her dog(s) that is/are impounded at the designated animal impound facility.
h. Failure to Clean Up Dog Feces in Public Places.
A dog owner commits a Class II Petty Offense punishable under E.5.a. if the dog owner or custodian of any dog which has defecated in any park, parkway, sidewalk, roadway, community center, school, or recreational facility fails to clean up and remove such excrement or feces.
An Animal Control Officer may take into custody and impound at the Animal Shelter any dog found without a microchip or license tag when in violation of section C.3., any dog found at large, any dog or cat that has allegedly bitten a person or any dog or cat that is sick or injured and in need of medical attention.
Disposition After Impoundment.
No dog or cat shall be disposed of prior to six animal shelter business days after the date of impoundment unless it is critically injured or ill, the owner cannot be located, and it is deemed in the best interest of the animal that the dog or cat be disposed of as determined by the Manager of the Animal Shelter or his/her designee. In the event a dog or cat is not claimed by the owner within the six day period, the Animal Shelter may at its sole discretion, dispose of the dog or cat by adoption or euthanasia. In the event the Animal Shelter disposes of the animal as set forth in this section, the owner of such dog or cat shall be obligated to pay any and all fees required by the Animal Shelter.
Liability for Accident or Subsequent Disease from Impoundment.
The Board of County Commissioners, any assistants or employees, or any other person authorized to enforce the provisions of this animal control and licensing regulation shall not be held responsible for any accident, non-deliberate injury, or subsequent disease that may occur in connection with the administration of this regulation.
Special Sanctions Upon Conviction of Biting Dog, Nuisance Dog, Vicious Dog and Habitual Offender Violations.
In recognition of the serious nature of biting dog, nuisance dog, vicious dog and habitual offender violations and in the interest of protecting and promoting public safety, the Jefferson County Animal Control Department and/or the District Attorney's Office has the authority to recommend that a Special Sanction be levied against the dog owner convicted of one or more of the above enumerated offenses. This recommendation will be presented to the Jefferson County Court by a motion of the District Attorney as a proposed condition of sentencing upon conviction of one of the offenses enumerated above. The Animal Control Department and/or the District Attorney will present the prior history and documentation on a dog owner that has been so convicted and will propose the imposition of further restrictions or sanctions against a dog owner. This special sanction may be in lieu of or in addition to the specified fine at the discretion of the Court. The Court shall be asked to take into consideration the severity of the incident, the prior history of the dog owner and the recommendation of the Animal Control Department and the District Attorney's Office when ruling on a disposition. The Court shall be asked to consider each case as unique, and to adapt a special sanction or limitation to the particular facts and circumstances of the given case. The Animal Control Department will be responsible for conducting the follow up visits with the dog owner to ensure compliance with the court-ordered sanction, and will report back to the court in a timely manner. The following is a list of available, but not all inclusive, sanctions and limitations to be completed within a time specified by the court.
a. Construction of a secure dog kennel (built to the specifications of Animal Control).
b. Spaying or neutering of the dog.
c. Dog obedience training.
d. Community Service work at an animal sheltering facility.
e. Euthanasia of the dog.
f. Pet Management Class.
h. Micro-chipping of the animal at owner’s expense.
i. When outdoors in a private yard, the animal must be in an escape proof enclosure or with a responsible adult, who is a minimum of 21 years of age, in the rear yard with the animal, and a secure six-foot fence must enclose the rear yard.
j. When walked, animal must be muzzled and walked on a leash no longer than 4 feet in length by a responsible adult, who is a minimum of 21 years of age, and is capable of effectively controlling the animal.
k. When the animal is away from the property of the owner, the owner shall keep the animal either in a secure temporary enclosure or securely leashed with a leash no longer than four (4) feet in length held by a responsible adult, who is minimum of 21 years of age, and is capable of effectively controlling the animal and animal must be muzzled.
l. Extension style leashes may not be used.
m. The leash may not be attached to inanimate objects.
n. Owner must post, at each entrance to the owner’s property where the animal is kept, a conspicuous and clearly legible sign of at least eight (8) by ten (10) inches, which shall contain the words, “BEWARE OF DOG” in lettering at least two (2) inches in height.
o. The owner shall not sell or otherwise transfer the animal to any person except to an immediate family member who will then be subject to all the same restrictions imposed on the owner. This transfer of ownership information must be provided to animal control.
p. The owner shall be responsible for the payment of all impoundment fees, boarding fees, and any reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred during the impoundment of the animal regardless of whether or not the animal is redeemed by the owner from the animal shelter.
q. Prohibition of ownership of other animals during the period of court ordered supervision.
r. Owner must obtain a homeowners or renters insurance policy showing at least $100,000.00 in liability coverage for any damage by injury caused by the animal. The policy must be for a 12-month period with the requirement that the policy be maintained during the life of the animal.
Penalties and Enforcement.
a. Class II Petty Offenses.
All charges and proceedings relating to commission of Class II Petty Offenses may be cited in compliance with the penalty assessment procedures pursuant to Section 16-2-201, C.R.S., as amended. Any person(s) who acknowledges guilt or is found guilty of a Class II Petty Offense shall be punished by a mandatory fine of not less than the amount set forth in this section nor more than $1,000.00 for each separate offense, plus customary court costs when applicable. An incremental fine shall be assessed for all Class II Petty Offenses, beginning with the minimum mandatory fine for a first offense and with increases for each recurring offense up to a maximum of $1,000.00. The minimum fine as well as the assessed incremental increases for second and subsequent offenses shall be mandatory and shall not be suspended in whole or in part. Class II Petty Offenses include:
(1) Failure to have a Jefferson County dog license, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and increased $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum of $1,000.00.
(2) No license tag attached to dog (and dog not meeting exception provided in C.3.), $30.00 mandatory minimum fine, $60.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $30.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(3) Misrepresentation of licensing, $30.00 mandatory minimum fine, $60.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $30.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(4) Violating quarantine, $100.00 mandatory minimum fine, $200.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $100.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(5) Failure or refusal to produce an animal for quarantine, $100.00 mandatory minimum fine, $200.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $100.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(6) Dog at large, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(7) Dog at large causing bodily injury, or dog off leash causing bodily injury, $100.00 mandatory minimum fine, $200.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $100.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(8) Habitual/persistent barking dog, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(9) Unlawfully harboring a guard dog, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(10) Unlawfully harboring a female dog in season, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(11) Failure to dispose of feces/urine as provided in D.4.f., $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(12) Nuisance dog, $100.00 mandatory minimum fine, $200.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $100.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(13) Habitual offender, $300.00 mandatory minimum fine, $600.00 for a second offense, and $1,000.00 for each subsequent offense.
(14) Interference with an animal control officer, no bodily injury, $200.00 mandatory minimum fine, $400.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $200.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(15) Failure to report dog bite, $50.00 mandatory minimum fine, $100.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $50.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(16) Off leash, $30.00 mandatory minimum fine, $60.00 for second offense and an increase of $30.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(17) Failure to redeem or relinquish animal from the designated animal impound facility, mandatory minimum fine of $150.00, $300.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $150.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(18) Failure to clean up dog feces in public places, mandatory minimum fine of $30.00, $60.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $30.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(19) Vicious Dog, $200.00 mandatory minimum fine, $400.00 for a second offense, and an increase of $200.00 for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
(20) Dog at large causing property damage, $100.00 mandatory minimum fine, $200.00 for a second offense, and a $100.00 increase for each subsequent offense with a maximum fine of $1,000.00.
b. Class II Misdemeanors.
All persons who acknowledge guilt or who are found guilty of a Class II Misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine as set forth in this section with a maximum fine of $1,000.00 and/or imprisonment in the county jail for three to twelve months. The minimum Class II Misdemeanor fine shall be as set forth below unless it is suspended as a condition of probation.
(1) Unlicensed dog and biting, $250.00 fine.
(2) Dog is at large or Encroachment and biting, $500.00 fine.
(3) Dog biting off premises and under owner’s control $500.000 fine.
(4) Dog Off Leash and Biting $500.00 fine.
Disposition of Fines and Forfeitures.
All fines and forfeitures for the violation of this regulation and all monies collected by the County for licenses or otherwise shall be paid into the general fund of the County except as otherwise provided herein. The Board of County Commissioners may authorize by intergovernmental Agreement or separate resolution the payment of all or a portion of license fees to the Table Mountain Animal Center or designate the fees be used for any other purpose authorized by the Board of County Commissioners.
License Fee Contingency Fund.
One percent of the Jefferson County dog license fees collected pursuant to C., shall be allocated to and segregated in a separate Animal Control Department account for the payment of emergency medical treatment for stray animals. This fund shall be administered by the Animal Control Director or his/her designee.
G. Off Leash Area/Exception to Dog Off Leash Offense.
A governmental agency with the power to own or operate a park or a home owner’s association that owns and manages common property may designate an area or park land that it owns or manages as an Off Leash Area if it obtains an exemption from the Board of County Commissioners. Dogs shall be permitted to be off leash in such areas so long as the owners are observed to be present and within visual site of his or her dog. This shall be an area where there is an exemption to the Off Leash offense.
The governmental entity seeking an exemption shall submit a request for an exemption to the Animal Control Division of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. The governmental entity must submit proof that at a minimum it has notified all property owners within a one quarter mile radius of the boundary of the proposed Off Leash Area. It is recommended that special districts notify all district constituents. If the Off Leash Area is a trail on Forest Service land or Open Space, the Forest Service or Open Space, at a minimum, shall notify all property owners adjacent to the trail and all property owners whose property is within 100 yards of the parking area designated for the Off Leash Area. The notification must direct people to submit written comments, whether pro or con, to the Animal Control Section within 30 days after the postmark date of the Notice. A list of addresses of all persons notified must be submitted to the Animal Control Section with a copy of the notification. The application must include a map depicting the boundary of the proposed Off Leash Area.
Within 60 days after receipt of a complete application, the Animal Control Section shall conduct a site evaluation to determine if the site meets the criteria of this section. Animal Control will submit a written report to the Board of County Commissioners. The report will summarize the public comment, confirm that the area meets or will meet the specified criteria, and will make a recommendation to either approve or deny the application. The Board of County Commissioners’ decision will be final. The report will contain a signature page for the approval/denial and a copy of the document will be maintained at the Animal Control Office.
Park Off Leash Area.
All park areas designated as Off Leash Areas, except trail areas, must comply with the following criteria:
a. Have a minimum of one acre of land surrounded by a 4 foot to 6 foot secure, chain link fence (or other similar material). The fenced area must have a double-gated entrance to prevent escape.
b. The area must be accessible to people with disabilities.
c. The area must have covered garbage cans and pooper-scooper stations provided, stocked and maintained.
d. The area must have shade and water available.
e. Signs must be posted that specify park hours and rules, including a "participate at your own risk" statement.
f. Adequate parking must be close to the site.
U.S. Forest Service Trail Area or Jefferson County Open Space Trail Area.
All U.S. Forest Service Trail Areas and Jefferson County Open Space Trail Areas designated as Off Leash Areas shall comply with the following criteria:
a. Adequate parking close to the trailhead or area.
b. Covered garbage cans and trash removal service.
c. Signs that specify trail rules and clearly designate the area as off-leash to warn/notify other hikers or patrons. Also, signs shall include a "participate at your own risk" statement.
Enforcement of Off Leash Areas.
All complaints, except complaints concerning dog bites, will be handled by the entity having jurisdiction over the park (the "park jurisdiction"). All bites must be reported within 24 hours to Animal Control.
Revocation of Off Leash Exemption.
a. The Off-Leash designation can be revoked at any time by the park jurisdiction or County Open Space Division. The park jurisdiction or County Open Space Division must notify Animal Control, immediately, in writing of the decision to un-designate the Off Leash Area. The park jurisdiction would have to wait 6 months to re-apply if they wish to reinstate the Off Leash designation.
b. If Animal Control receives repeated complaints that are not being adequately addressed by the park jurisdiction, Animal Control can petition the Board of County Commissioners to revoke the Off Leash exemption. If the revocation is approved, the park jurisdiction or Forest Service will be notified in writing to close the area to Off Leash activity and that leash law enforcement will resume in the area.
No vicious or nuisance dogs as defined in Section A.32. are permitted off leash within areas designated as Off Leash Parks.
Existing Open Space Areas Designated as Off Leash.
Open Space areas already designated by the Open Space Division as areas permitting dogs to be Off Leash shall be deemed already granted an exemption from the Board of County Commissioners.
H. Special Event Permit For Off-Leash Dog Activities In Unincorporated Jefferson County
- Jefferson County Animal Control Director or his/her designee may issue a Special Event Permit allowing for temporary off-leash dog activities when the applicant has complied with the requirements of this section. Activities may include, but are not limited to, dog agility trials, fly ball, rally, dog obedience, conformation, and field trials.
- In order to be granted a special event permit, an applicant must be an established and organized club or group, submit an application to animal control and comply with the criteria and guidelines set forth in this section.
The applicant must submit an application to Animal Control which includes the following information:
a. Documentation to confirm reservation and authorization from the park district or other venue;
b. Documentation acceptable to the Animal Control Director to establish that the applicant is an existing legal entity (such documentation may include, but is not limited to, articles of incorporation, bylaws, or group, pamphlet, mission statement, event calendar, meeting minutes, etc. To illustrate the existence of the organization);
c. A business address and complete contact information (name, address, phone, cell phone) for the event organizer/liaison;
d. Must have adequate liability insurance as determined by Jefferson County Risk and provide a certificate of liability insurance naming the County as an additional insured;
e. Specify a specific date or dates and start and end times for the proposed event; and
f. A diagram showing the location of the event and the area or areas that will be fenced.
Once a complete application is submitted, Animal Control will within two weeks send one copy of the application with its approval or denial to the group organizer/liaison and one copy to the event venue. In the event that the permit is
denied, the application will include an explanation of why the event was not approved. Re-application for the same event may be made one time. A copy of the permit will be kept at the Animal Control Office.
- The Applicant shall ensure that the event is conducted in a safe and orderly manner and that the event is conducted in compliance with the following requirements.
- The area to be used for the event will, to the extent possible, be demarcated by temporary fencing or staked in a manner acceptable to the Animal Control Director and as represented in the diagram approved by the animal control director;
- Dogs will only be allowed off leash during the time the dogs are competing, performing, or practicing for an event;
- Participants will be supervised by the applicant to assure that good order is maintained and that rules are being followed;
- Applicant will assure that all dog waste is picked up and properly disposed;
- All animals shall be provided with adequate water and protection from the elements;
- All other Jefferson County animal regulations are followed; and
- Applicant will report all dog bites (to humans) within 24 hours to Jefferson County Animal Control. Applicant will assure that all park district or other venue rules and regulations are followed.
Should any section, clause, sentence or part of this regulation be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional or invalid, the same shall not affect, impair or invalidate the regulation as a whole or any part thereof, other than the part so declared to be invalid.
Sec. 4.01.001 Local health authority designated
The city animal control supervisor will be designated as the local health authority for the purpose of this chapter. His duties will be to enforce all city and state laws pertaining to the control of animals within the city. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; Ordinance 06-048, sec. 3, adopted 8/22/06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-15)
Sec. 4.01.002 Office of animal control supervisor established; duties; enforcement
(a) The animal control supervisor, any animal control officer, and/or any law enforcement officer of the city shall have the authority to issue citations or file charges in municipal court for any violation of this chapter and any other power or duty stated within the terms of this chapter.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly prevent, interfere with, or obstruct the animal control supervisor, an animal control officer, and/or any law enforcement officer in the performance of their duties. It shall be unlawful for any person to fail to comply with any lawful order of the local health director, animal control supervisor, or any animal control officer of the city.
(c) The local animal control supervisor, any animal control officer, and/or any law enforcement officer has the authority to enforce any and all provisions of this chapter.
(d) The city shall be entitled to pursue all other criminal and civil remedies to which it is entitled under the authority of federal, state or local law.
(Ordinance 06-048, sec. 2, adopted 8/22/06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-42)
Sec. 4.01.003 Abatement and imminent threat; right of entry
(a) Animal control officers and/or law enforcement officers shall have the power to impound animals which create an animal nuisance per se for the purpose of abating a nuisance and in cases where they have reason to believe an animal has been or is being cruelly treated, has rabies or exhibits other violations of law as follows:
(1) On public property, in all cases;
(2) On private property, if:
(A) The consent of the resident or property owner is obtained;
(B) The officer reasonably believes there is immediate and imminent danger or peril to the public or to the animal if the animal in question is not impounded; or
(C) Authorized by appropriate courts of law.
(3) The officer has the right to pursue and apprehend animals running at large onto private property while enforcing the provisions of this chapter.
(Ordinance 06-048, sec. 2, adopted 8/22/06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-38)
Sec. 4.01.004 Immediate euthanasia authorized
(a) The director of public health, the local health authority, the animal control supervisor, or any person designated by either the director of public health, city manager, or city council acting on behalf of the city, is authorized to kill or immediately euthanize any animal found at large or any impounded animal in the following circumstances:
(1) The animal appears to be suffering from serious injury, pain or agony;
(2) Circumstances exist which reasonably cause the animal control supervisor to believe that the animal presents a serious risk to the health or safety of the public;
(3) Circumstances exist which reasonably cause the animal control supervisor to believe that the animal presents a serious risk to the health or safety of the animal population of the city animal shelter or the animal population of the city.
(b) The animal control division may euthanize any impounded animal immediately upon declaration of evacuation of the city due to natural or man-made disasters; any quarantined animals will be handled on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the animal control supervisor, who is authorized to do one of the following:
(1) Humanely euthanize any quarantined animal, remove the head or brain of the animal and submit it to the nearest department of state health services laboratory for testing of rabies;
(2) Release the quarantined animal to the owners, requiring the return of said animal upon return.
(Ordinance 06-048, sec. 2, adopted 8/22/06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-41)
Sec. 4.01.005 Wounded or sick animals, fowl or birds; killing
When, from any cause, any animal within the city shall be sick, wounded, maimed or injured, so as to render its recovery hopeless, it shall be permissible for the local health authority to destroy, or cause to be destroyed, such animal so ill or injured, and as soon after such injury as practicable, and in such manner as in his judgment shall be the least painful, and to cause the carcass thereof to be removed. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-3)
Sec. 4.01.006 Previous convictions
If a person has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, a subsequent conviction shall be punishable by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200.00) but not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00). (Ordinance 06-048, sec. 2, adopted 8/22/06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-43)
Sec. 4.01.007 Sale of animals in food establishments
It shall be unlawful to keep for sale any bird or domestic animal in any department store, novelty store or any other store or business establishment where food is served or sold to the public, unless such animals and birds are confined in enclosures and kept completely separated from the part of the store where food is served or sold. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-2)
Sec. 4.01.008 Selling or displaying animals in certain places; private animal sales
It shall be unlawful for any person to offer, sell, trade, barter, lease, rent, give away, or display for commercial purpose any live animal, on any roadside, public right-of-way, commercial parking lot, or any flea market within the city. This provision does not prohibit the sale or purchase of animals from a person’s private residence. (Ordinance 06-048, secs. 1, 2, adopted 8/22/06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-2.1; Ordinance 07-014, sec. 1, adopted 2/13-07)
Sec. 4.01.009 Kennels
(a) Commercial kennels generally; dog and cat fancier’s permit.
(1) Commercial kennel.
(A) The words “commercial kennel” shall mean any lot, building, structure, enclosure or premises where one (1) or more dogs, cats or other pet animals are kept for commercial purposes, including boarding, breeding, sale of goods or animals, or the rendering of services for profit. No person, group of persons or business entity shall operate a commercial kennel without first having obtained a valid commercial kennel license from the city health department. For the purposes hereof, the breeding and sale of the litter of animals kept and maintained as household pets, and/or the litter of animals kept and maintained by the holder of a dog and cat fancier’s permit, shall not be deemed and considered a commercial kennel. Unless the premises are covered by a commercial kennel license, only one (1) litter from animals kept as household pets or one (1) litter from animals of a holder of a dog and cat fancier’s permit shall be allowed on premises at any given time.
(B) Such license shall be for the calendar year or any part thereof during which such kennel shall be maintained. The yearly license fee for kennels shall be in accordance with section 10.01.008 of the Code of Ordinances. The fee shall be due and payable in advance on or before January 1 of each year. No kennel license shall be issued or renewed until an inspection certificate shall have been issued by the health department giving evidence that a sanitary inspection of the premises has been made by the department of health of the city. The license issued shall specify the maximum number of animals permitted to be kept, handled or exhibited by the licensee. It shall be unlawful for the licensee to keep, handle or exhibit any number of animals in excess of the maximum specified on the license. All applicants for a kennel license with the city, if required by state statute to be licensed by the department of state health services, must have a valid license issued by said department to qualify for licensure by the city. The possession of a state license shall not in itself assure that a city license will be granted.
(C) Should the health authority or its designee believe a commercial kennel licensed under this section is in violation of any zoning law, health law, or any other applicable law of the city or state or believe the commercial kennel is maintained in such a manner as to be detrimental to the health, safety or peace of mind of persons residing in the immediate vicinity, the health authority may provide written notice to the person, group of persons, or business entity operating the commercial kennel specifically stating the nature and facts supporting the nature of the alleged violation or detrimental condition. Such notice shall also state the intention to repeal the commercial kennel license and provide an effective date of such license repeal not less than twenty-five (25) days after the date of the letter of notice. Should the person or persons holding the commercial kennel license desire to appeal the decision of the health authority or its designee such appeal should be made in writing within ten (10) days of the date of the letter of notice and in such case the health authority shall convene the animal health advisory committee to hear the appeal. The decision of the animal health advisory committee shall be final concerning revocation or nonrevocation of the commercial kennel license. The decision of the committee shall be made prior to the date of repeal set out in the notice letter; if the decision is not timely made, the license shall continue in full force and effect until such time as such decision is made.
(D) This section shall not apply to and will not be construed to require a commercial kennel license for:
(i) A veterinary hospital operated by a licensed veterinarian which retains animals for veterinary medical care;
(ii) A bona fide publicly or privately owned zoological park;
(iii) A bona fide research institution using animals for scientific research;
(iv) A publicly owned animal shelter.
(E) A certificate shall be issued by the health department to the person paying for a commercial kennel license, which certificate shall contain the data specified in this section and which certificate shall be displayed at all times in a prominent place in the kennel.
(F) The department of health shall keep a permanent record of all commercial kennel licenses issued under the terms of this section, which record shall show the name and address of persons being issued a kennel license, the name and address of the kennel, the number of the commercial kennel license, the date issued and the amount paid therefor.
(2) Permit, dog and cat fancier.
(A) The words “dog and cat fancier’s premises” shall mean any lot, building, structure, enclosure or other premises where five (5) or more dogs, each of which is over the age of four (4) months, five (5) or more cats, each is over the age of four (4) months, or a total of five (5) or more dogs and cats, each over the age of four (4) months, are kept, harbored or maintained:
(i) For showing in recognized dog shows, obedience trials, or field trials.
(ii) For working and hunting.
(iii) For exhibition in shows and trials.
(iv) For household pets.
(B) No person may operate a dog and cat fancier’s premises without first having obtained a valid permit from the health authority or its designee. Persons shall apply for such permits with the city health department. A person may apply for a permit for a dog and cat fancier’s premises prior to purchase of such premises; in such case, the permit if issued may be issued subject to such purchase. The application shall be in writing and shall provide sufficient information to document the following:
(i) That the animals will not create nuisance conditions for adjoining or nearby properties;
(ii) That all animals will be securely confined to the property;
(iii) That adequate methods for sanitation and sewage disposal are provided;
(iv) A list of all animals by number, breed, sex, age, and color.
(C) Outside structures or enclosures used to maintain the animals should be located only in the back yard and shall not occupy more than twenty (20) percent of the yard area.
(D) Upon receipt of the application, the health authority or its designee shall provide written notice to owners or occupants of all property within five hundred (500) feet of the property line of the proposed permitted location. The notice shall inform the owner that an application for a dog and cat fancier’s permit is pending, the location at which the permit is pending and shall specifically include a returnable card addressed to the city providing a means by which the recipient of the notice may either agree to or object to the issuance of the permit. For purposes of this section, notification is adequate if addressed to the owner of the property as such owner appears on the current tax roll of the city. The time limit for such objection shall be stated on the notice but shall not be less than fourteen (14) days from the date of the issuance of the notice. A dog and cat fancier’s permit may not be issued if two (2) or more written objections are received within the time limit set out in the notice.
(E) The applicant shall pay to the city a nonrefundable fee of two hundred dollars ($200.00) at the time the application is submitted. If two (2) or more objections to issuance of the permit are not received and the application is otherwise acceptable to the health authority or its designee, the permit shall be granted for a one-year period; otherwise the permit shall be denied. Appeals of denials will be handled in accordance with the provisions of subsection (G) of this subsection.
(F) Permits will be issued for one-year periods and must be renewed annually by the payment of a renewal fee of fifty dollars ($50.00). A permitted dog and cat fancier’s premises is an allowable use in any zoning classification. Prior to issuance of any permit, either original or renewal, the health authority shall inspect the premises to assure compliance with this section. The number, breed, sex, age, and color or colors of all animals shall be listed on the permit. No new animals may be added nor shall exchanges be allowed unless application for amendment to the permit is made and approved.
(G) Permits may be revoked by the health authority or its designee if provisions of this section, other ordinances of the city or the laws of the state, or the terms and conditions of the permit are violated. Appeals of revocation of a permit or the refusal to grant a permit shall be made to the health authority or its designee. The request for appeals shall be made in writing within five (5) days of the receipt of the written notification of the refusal to grant the permit or the revocation of the permit. Upon receipt of request for such an appeal, the health authority shall convene the animal health advisory committee to hear the appeal. The decision of the animal health advisory committee shall be final.
(b) Structure requirements; feeding, watering, and sanitation.
(1) General structure.
(A) Structural strength. Housing facilities shall be structurally sound and shall be maintained in good repair in order to protect the animals from injury, to contain them, and to prevent exposure to other animals.
(B) Water and electric power. Reliable and adequate electric power, if required to comply with other provisions of this section, and adequate potable water shall be available.
(C) Storage. Supplies of food and bedding shall be stored in facilities which adequately protect such supplies against infestation or contamination by vermin. Refrigeration shall be provided for supplies of perishable food.
(D) Waste disposal. Provision shall be made for the removal and disposal of animal and food waste, bedding, dead animals and debris. Disposal facilities shall be so provided and operated as to minimize vermin infestations, odors, and disease hazards.
(E) Washrooms and sinks. Facilities for personal hygiene, such as washrooms, basins or sinks, shall be provided for employees.
(2) Indoor facilities.
(A) Heating. Indoor housing facilities shall be sufficiently heated when necessary to protect the animals.
(B) Ventilation. Indoor housing facilities shall be adequately ventilated to provide for the health and comfort of the animals at all times. Such facilities shall be provided with fresh air either by means of windows, doors, vents, or air conditioning and shall be ventilated so as to minimize drafts, odors, and moisture condensation.
(C) Lighting. Indoor housing facilities shall have ample light of sufficient intensity to permit routine inspection and cleaning during the entire work period. Primary enclosures shall be situated to protect the animals from excess illumination.
(D) Interior surfaces. The interior building surfaces shall be constructed and maintained so that they are impervious to moisture and may be readily sanitized.
(E) Drainage. A suitable drainage method shall be provided to rapidly eliminate excess water from indoor housing facilities. If drains are used, they shall be properly constructed and kept in good repair to avoid foul odors therefrom. If closed drainage systems are used, they shall be equipped with traps and so installed as to prevent any backup of sewage onto the floor of the room.
(3) Outdoor facilities.
(A) Outdoor holding facilities shall be of adequate size and construction to handle any animal housed therein.
(B) Adequate shelter shall be provided to protect animals from any form of overheating or cold or inclement weather.
(C) Outdoor holding facilities must be constructed in such manner that they will protect the animal, be readily sanitized, and will not create a nuisance. A suitable method shall be provided to rapidly eliminate excess water.
(4) Primary enclosures. Primary enclosures shall:
(A) Be structurally sound and maintained in good repair.
(B) Provide convenient access to clean food and water.
(C) Enable the animal to remain dry and clean.
(D) Be constructed so as to protect the animal’s feet and legs from injury.
(E) Provide sufficient space to allow each animal to turn around fully, stand, sit and lie in a comfortable, normal position.
(A) Dogs and cats shall be fed at least once a day except as otherwise might be directed by a licensed veterinarian. The food shall be free from contamination, wholesome, palatable, and of sufficient quality and nutritive value to meet the normal daily requirements for the condition and size of the dog or cat.
(B) Food receptacles shall be accessible to all dogs and cats and shall be located so as to minimize contamination by excreta. Feeding pans shall be durable and kept clean and sanitary. Disposable food receptacles may be used but must be discarded after each feeding. Self feeders may be used for the feeding of dog food, and shall be kept clean and sanitary to prevent molding, deterioration, or caking of food.
(A) If potable water is not accessible to the dogs and cats at all times, it shall be offered to them at least twice daily for periods of not less than one (1) hour, except as directed by a licensed veterinarian.
(B) Watering receptacles shall be kept clean and sanitary.
(A) Cleaning of primary enclosures. Excreta shall be removed from primary enclosures as often as necessary to prevent contamination of the inhabitants and to reduce disease hazards and odors.
(B) Sanitation of primary enclosures. Cages, rooms and pens shall be maintained in a sanitary condition.
(C) Building and premises shall be kept clean.
(D) A regular program for the control of insects, ectoparasites, and other pests shall be established and maintained.
(Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; Ordinance 86-16, sec. 1, adopted 2/25/86; Ordinance 91-69, sec. 1, adopted 9/3/91; 1978 Code, secs. 5-17, 5-17.1)
Sec. 4.01.010 Barking dogs
It shall be unlawful and constitute the creation and maintenance of a public nuisance for any person to harbor or keep on his premises or in or about his premises, or premises under his control, any dog or animal of the dog kind, which by loud or unusual barking, howling, or yelping shall cause the peace and quiet of the neighborhood or the occupants of adjacent premises to be disturbed. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-18)
Sec. 4.01.011 Dead animal disposal
(a) No person shall place or deposit the exposed carcass of any animal or fowl on any street, alley, highway or public place or upon private property or permit to stand any truck or other vehicle containing such carcass on any street, alley, highway or public place or on private property within the city. The term “exposed” as used in this section means the exposure of the carcass of an animal so that putrefying odors may escape and contaminate the air.
(b) Such person or persons shall cause the carcass of such animal or fowl to be disposed of as follows:
(1) Putting the carcass in tied, double plastic bags and placing at the edge of the driveway, close to but not on the roadway;
(2) Phoning animal control in a timely manner to pick up and dispose of the bagged dead animal* before such time that the carcass begins to putrefy, decay and/or become infested with maggots.
*Any animal weighing 80 lbs. or more must be disposed of by the owner or persons in possession of said dead animal.
(Ordinance 06-048, secs. 1, 2, adopted 8-22-06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-16; Ordinance 07-014, sec. 5, adopted 2/13/07)
Sec. 4.01.012 Fee for picking up dead animals from veterinarian
A fee will be charged for each trip made by the local health authority to pick up two (2) dead animals from veterinarians. The fees charged for this service will be in accordance with section 10.01.008 of the Code of Ordinances. The Humane Society shall be exempt from the payment of these fees. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-27)
ARTICLE 4.02 CARE AND TREATMENT
Sec. 4.02.001 Generally
(a) Any person, including but not limited to the owner and/or the person who has the care, custody or control of such animal, commits an offense if he:
(1) Fails to provide an animal with sufficient food and water;
(2) Cruelly confines an animal or forces, allows, or permits any animal to remain in its own filth and/or waste;
(3) Crops a dog’s ears, docks a tail, removes dew claws, or performs other surgical procedures on a dog or cat, except as provided by the Veterinary Licensing Act by a licensed veterinarian;
(4) Uses any steel-jawed, killer-type, toothed trap designed in such a fashion as to reasonably ensure the cutting, slicing, tearing, or otherwise traumatizing of entrapped prey and commonly known as a bear trap, wolf trap, or coyote trap in any zoning district within the city limits;
(5) Instigates or permits any dog fight, cock fight, bullfight, or other combat between animals or between animals and humans;
(6) Leaves any animal unattended in any vehicle in such a way as to endanger the animal’s health, safety, or welfare;
(7) Throws or allows an animal to jump from a moving vehicle in a manner likely to injure the animal; or
(8) Ties or tethers a dog or other animal to a stationary object for a period of time or in a location so as to create an unhealthy situation for the animal or a potentially dangerous situation for a pedestrian.
(Ordinance 06-048, sec. 2, adopted 8/22/06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-39)
Sec. 4.02.002 Placement and baiting of animal traps
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to place or place and bait or to permit the placing or placing and baiting of any trap designed for trapping animals in any highway, street, alley or other public place within the city limits unless specific permission by animal control has been granted. However, nothing in this chapter shall prohibit an animal control officer from placing such traps on public or private property as may be necessary to capture animals running at large.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to remove, alter, damage, or otherwise tamper with a trap or equipment belonging to or set out by the animal control division.
(Ordinance 06-048, sec. 2, adopted 8/22/06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-40)
Sec. 4.02.003 Abandoning or dumping animal in city
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to abandon, forsake or dump any dog, cat or other animal within the city for any reason.
(b) The term “abandoned” as used in this section means to leave an animal in any place without providing reasonable and necessary care for the animal under circumstances under which no reasonable and similarly situated owner would leave an animal.
(Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; Ordinance 06-048, secs. 1, 2, adopted 8/22/06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-1)
State law references–Cruelty by abandoning livestock animal, V.T.C.A., Penal Code, sec. 42.09(a)(3); cruelty by abandoning nonlivestock animal, V.T.C.A., Penal Code, sec. 42.092(b)(4).
ARTICLE 4.03 IMPOUNDMENT
Sec. 4.03.001 Dogs at large prohibited
It shall be unlawful for any dog to be at large within the city. Any dog on the streets, alleys or public places or on private premises not under the control of the owner, possessor, keeper or harborer of such dog within the city shall be considered to be at large in violation of this section, except that a dog being under the control of a person by means of a leash of sufficient strength to hold such dog shall not be deemed to be at large. A person who owns, possesses, keeps or harbors any dog that is found at large shall be in violation of this section. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-20)
Sec. 4.03.002 Holding periods; reclaiming; shelter fee; sustenance for animals
It shall be the duty of the local health authority or any police officer of the city to take up any dog found at large and confine such dog in the city animal shelter for seventy-two (72) hours in the case of a dog without a collar or harness with tag attached, and for one hundred twenty (120) hours in the case of a dog wearing a current tag, during which time the owner or person entitled to such dog, upon satisfactory proof to the local health authority of ownership, may redeem his dog upon the payment of a shelter fee in accordance with section 10.01.008 and all other such applicable fees provided by that section. The local health authority shall provide, at the cost of the city, suitable and necessary sustenance for all dogs so impounded. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-21)
Sec. 4.03.003 Notice to owner
As soon as possible after any dogs or cats have been impounded at the city shelter it shall be the duty of the local health authority to maintain a list of each animal impounded describing each of such dogs or cats, whether bearing an immunization tag or not, and giving the number of the tag and the name of the person registering the dog or cat in the case where the dog or cat bears an immunization tag. In case the dog or cat bears an immunization tag, then in addition to maintaining a list as required herein, it shall be the duty of the local health authority to notify such person to whom such immunization tag was issued, by letter, postal card, or telephone. The mailing of such letter or postal card shall be deemed sufficient notice whether or not the person addressed shall receive the same. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-22)
Sec. 4.03.004 Refusal to deliver an animal to officer
It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to deliver any unimmunized dog or cat to the local health authority or any of his deputies or any city policeman upon demand for impounding. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-23)
Sec. 4.03.005 Redemption or destruction of unclaimed animals
(a) The person entitled to the possession of any dog or cat impounded as provided herein, upon proper application within the time limits specified in this article, after the impounding of such dog or cat, shall be entitled to have the dog or cat given to him, provided such dog or cat is not affected or thought to be affected with rabies, upon the payment of the impounding fee as provided in section 10.01.008 for each dog or cat impounded.
(b) If the owner of a dog or cat impounded fails to claim such animal within seventy-two (72) hours, in the case of a dog or cat without collar and immunization tag attached, the local health authority shall deliver such dog or cat to the first person who shall apply for possession of such dog or cat within the applicable time limit specified above, provided such dog or cat is not affected or thought to be affected with rabies. Such delivery shall be made upon payment of the impounding fee provided for in section 10.01.008, and in addition thereto, in the case of unimmunized dogs or cats, upon obtaining an immunization for such dog or cat as provided in this chapter.
(c) If the owner of a dog or cat impounded fails to claim such dog or cat and no person applies for possession of said dog or cat, it shall be the duty of the local health authority to destroy the dog or cat without collar and vaccination tag at the expiration of the seventy-two (72) hours and the dog or cat with collar and immunization tag attached at the expiration of one hundred twenty (120) hours.
(Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-24)
Sec. 4.03.006 Interference with officers
It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with or attempt to prevent the local health authority or any of his deputies, or any city policemen, from catching or impounding any dog or cat going at large, whether on public or private property not under the control of the owner, possessor, keeper or harborer of such animal. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-25)
ARTICLE 4.04 RABIES CONTROL
Sec. 4.04.001 Report of bites; suspected rabies
(a) Any person having knowledge that an animal capable of transmitting rabies has bitten or scratched a person, dog or other animal shall immediately report the incident to the local health authority. The report shall include, if known, the name and address of any victim and of the owner of the animal and any other data which may aid in the locating of the victim or the animal.
(b) It shall be the duty of every physician or other practitioner to report to the local health authority the names and addresses of persons treated for bites or scratches inflicted by animals capable of transmitting rabies, together with such other information as will be helpful in rabies control.
(c) Any veterinarian who clinically diagnoses rabies or any person who suspects rabies in a dog or any other domestic or wild animal shall immediately report the incident to the local health authority or his agent stating as precisely as possible where such animal may be found. If a known or suspected rabid animal bites or attacks a domestic animal such incident shall also be reported as required above.
(Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-29)
State law reference–Reports of rabies, V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code, sec. 826.041.
Sec. 4.04.002 Taking up and observing
(a) The owner of a dog or cat which has bitten, scratched or attacked a person, dog or other animal shall be notified of the incident and shall cause such animal to be immediately quarantined at the owner’s expense for a period of not less than ten (10) days in the city animal shelter or a veterinary hospital in this city operated by a duly licensed veterinarian. A fee shall be charged for each day of confinement at the animal shelter when an animal is under observation in bite cases. This boarding fee shall be assessed in accordance with section 10.01.008 of the Code of Ordinances. Refusal or failure to produce said dog or other animal constitutes a violation of this section and each day of such refusal or failure shall constitute a separate individual violation.
(1) The animal control supervisor may authorize a dog or cat owner’s request for home quarantine subject to the following requirements:
(A) Secure facilities are available at the owner’s home;
(B) The animal has a current vaccination against rabies;
(C) The animal was not a stray or otherwise wandering loose or at large when the bite occurred;
(D) A licensed veterinarian must examine the dog on the first day and last day of the ten-day quarantine period; and
(E) The animal control division must be advised immediately if the dog becomes sick or a change in its condition develops.
(2) If the above requirements are met, home quarantine may only be allowed under the following circumstances:
(A) The owner or owner’s spouse or child is the bite victim;
(B) The bite victim is an animal; or
(C) The bite victim or parent or guardian of a minor bite victim agrees to and signs an agreement form allowing home quarantine.
(3) Dogs owned by the city and used actively by the police department in police work are exempt from the confinement requirements of this section if the bite incident occurs while the dog is actively involved in police work. However, such animals will be subject to examination on the day of the bite and ten (10) days after the day of the bite by a veterinarian licensed to practice in the state and chosen by the city. Should the police dog become sick or noticeably different in behavior, the police officer responsible for the dog shall report such change in behavior to his immediate superior, who shall have the dog examined immediately by a veterinarian. The veterinarian will notify the animal control division of his findings concerning the dog. Should the dog become mortally injured or die during the ten-day period after a bite it shall be delivered to the animal control division.
(4) The animal control supervisor is responsible for developing forms and procedures necessary to accomplish the provisions of this section.
(5) Any person who is the keeper or has custody and control of an animal shall be deemed the owner for purposes of this section. If it is determined by a veterinarian that an animal shows the clinical signs of the disease of rabies, the local health authority shall humanely destroy the animal.
(b) If the animal dies or is destroyed while in quarantine, the local health authority shall remove the head or brain of the animal and submit it to the nearest department of state health services for testing. If a veterinarian determines that a quarantined animal does not show the clinical signs of rabies, the local health authority shall release it to the owner following the quarantine period if:
(1) The owner has an unexpired rabies vaccination certificate for the animal; or
(2) The animal is vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian at the owner’s expense.
The owner of an animal that is quarantined under this section shall pay to the local health authority the reasonable costs of the quarantine and disposition of the animal as set out herein and the local health authority may bring suit to collect those costs. The local health authority shall destroy an animal that the owner or custodian does not take possession of on or before the third day following the final day of the quarantine.
(Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; Ordinance 85-77, sec. 1, adopted 8/6/85; Ordinance 92-51, sec. 1, adopted 7/14/92; 1978 Code, sec. 5-30)
State law references–Quarantine of animals, V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code, sec. 826.042; release or disposition of quarantined animal, V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code, sec. 826.043.
Sec. 4.04.003 Vaccination
Every owner of a dog or cat or ferret four (4) months of age or older shall have such animal immunized against rabies once every twelve (12) months by a veterinarian duly licensed to practice in the state. There shall be a fee charged for vaccinations administered at the city animal shelter. The fee shall be as provided for in section 10.01.008 of the Code of Ordinances. Any person moving into the city from a location outside the city shall comply with this section within ten (10) days after having moved into the city. To prevent improper vaccination of animals against and the accidental exposure of humans to rabies, modified live virus rabies vaccine for animals shall be administered only by or under the direct supervision of a veterinarian who is licensed to practice in this state. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; Ordinance 06-048, sec. 3, adopted 8/22/06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-31)
State law reference–Rabies vaccinations, V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code, sec. 826.021 et seq.
Sec. 4.04.004 Inspecting dog or cat to determine immunization; right of entry therefor
The local health authority and his authorized deputies shall have the right at any reasonable time to inspect any dog or cat to determine if such animal is vaccinated as required by this article and shall have the authority, with a warrant properly issued by a magistrate, to enter any premises for such purpose, and it shall be unlawful for any person to refuse entrance to the local health authority or his deputies or to impede, obstruct or exclude such health authority or his deputies when attempting to enter such premises for the purpose of inspecting such dog or cat. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-32)
Sec. 4.04.005 Tag, certificate from veterinarian required
The owner or keeper of any dog or cat immunized against rabies shall procure a written certificate of vaccination on forms to be provided by the veterinarian giving an accurate description of the animal, the date of immunization and the name and address of the owner of such dog or cat, which certificate shall be signed by the veterinarian administering the vaccine. A metal tag will be issued bearing a number corresponding to the number placed on such certificate and with lettering showing immunization, which tag shall be attached to the collar or harness of the dog or cat for which it was issued and shall be worn in a conspicuous place on the collar or harness at all times. The tag issued shall be valid for one (1) year after the date of vaccination of the dog or cat to which issued and shall be nontransferable. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-33)
Sec. 4.04.006 Removal of tag prohibited
It shall be unlawful for any person to remove any metal tag issued under the provisions of this article from any dog or cat without the written consent of the owner of such animal. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-34)
Sec. 4.04.007 Proof of vaccination
It shall be unlawful for any person who owns or harbors a vaccinated dog or cat to fail or refuse to exhibit his copy of the certificate of vaccination upon demand to any person charged with enforcement of this article. (Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-35)
Sec. 4.04.008 Animals exposed to rabies
(a) Any person having knowledge of the existence of any animal known to have been or suspected of having been exposed to rabies must immediately report such knowledge to the local health authority giving him any information which he may require. When any animal is known to have been or is suspected of having been exposed to rabies, the following rules shall be enforced by the local health authority:
(1) Unvaccinated animals which have been bitten or directly exposed by physical contact with a rabid animal or its fresh tissue shall be:
(A) Humanely killed; or
(B) If sufficient justification for preserving the animal exists, the exposed animal should be immediately vaccinated against rabies, placed in strict isolation for six (6) months and given a booster vaccination one (1) month prior to release from isolation at the owner’s expense.
(2) Vaccinated animals which have been bitten or otherwise significantly exposed to a rabid animal shall be:
(A) Humanely killed; or
(B) If sufficient justification for preserving the animal exists, the exposed vaccinated animal shall be given a booster rabies vaccination and placed in strict isolation for three (3) months at the owner’s expense.
(3) These provisions apply only to domestic animals for which an approved rabies vaccine is available.
(Ordinance 84-166, sec. 1, adopted 12/18/84; 1978 Code, sec. 5-36)
ARTICLE 4.05 DANGEROUS AND VICIOUS ANIMALS
Sec. 4.05.001 Definition; impoundment
(a) A dangerous/vicious animal shall be defined as an animal which:
(1) Has inflicted severe injury or death to a person or bites a person other than the owner or a member of the owner’s immediate family, without provocation, on public or private property;
(2) Has killed or severely injured a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner’s property;
(3) Has a known or apparent propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to otherwise threaten the safety of persons or domestic animals; or
(4) Is trained or harbored for fighting which may be determined based on whether the animal exhibits behavior and/or bears physical scars or injuries which indicate that the animal has been trained or used for the purpose of fighting.
(b) If an animal acts as stated in subsection (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this section or is trained or harbored for fighting, the animal control officer shall impound the animal immediately if it is at large; or, if it is in the possession of some person, the animal control officer may issue a notice requiring that the animal be taken to a designated location for impoundment. An animal which is impounded shall not be released until a final determination is made on the disposition of the animal.
(Ordinance 03-065, sec. 1, adopted 7/29/03; 1978 Code, sec. 5-19)
Sec. 4.05.002 Declaration of a dangerous animal
(a) The health director or his/her designee may declare an animal to be a dangerous animal if the official has sufficient cause to believe that an animal is dangerous as defined under section 4.05.001(a)(1), (2), (3), (4).
(b) Within five (5) working days of declaring an animal to be a dangerous animal, written notice shall be given to the owner that the health director or his/her designee has determined that the animal is a dangerous animal. This notice shall also set out the requirements for a dangerous animal which the owner must comply with as set forth in section 4.05.003. This notice shall be given to the owner by personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested. In the event that certified mail, return receipt requested, cannot be delivered, the animal control division may then give notice by ordinary mail.
(c) The owner of an animal declared to be dangerous may appeal the determination of the health director or his/her designee. The request for a determination hearing must be in writing and must be received by the director of the city health department or his/her designee no later than five (5) working days from receipt by the owner of the dangerous animal declaration. Failure to appeal the declaration within five (5) working days shall result in the health director’s declaration as final.
(d) If the owner of a dangerous animal cannot be determined after reasonable efforts to do so and after holding the animal for seventy-two (72) hours, the animal may be disposed of in a humane manner. If the owner of a dangerous animal which has been impounded is known but cannot be located for service of the notice required herein either in person or by mail, the animal may be disposed of in a humane manner after a reasonable effort has been made to locate such owner. Nothing herein shall be construed to require the city to hold the dangerous animal longer than seventy-two (72) hours because it is unclaimed.
(e) Determination hearing.
(1) Upon written request for a determination hearing by the owner of an animal declared dangerous herein, the director of the city health department or his/her designee shall schedule said hearing. The hearing committee shall be made up of members of the animal health advisory committee. The determination hearing shall be conducted within ten (10) days of receipt of the request for such hearing. The owner shall be notified of said hearing by first class mail. Failure of the owner to appear at the determination hearing shall in no way prevent the hearing committee from proceeding with the hearing. The decision of the committee shall be the final administrative determination by the city.
(2) Pending the outcome of the determination hearing, the animal must be securely confined in the animal control facility or at the request of the owner of the animal, with a licensed veterinarian at the expense of the owner. The costs of securing said animal at the animal control facility pending the determination hearing shall be borne by the owner.
(Ordinance 03-065, sec. 1, adopted 7/29/03; 1978 Code, sec. 5-19.1)
Sec. 4.05.003 Requirements for owner of a dangerous animal
(a) No later than fifteen (15) days after an animal is declared dangerous the owner must comply with all of the following requirements before the subject animal can be released to the owner by animal control:
(1) Register the animal as a dangerous animal with the animal control authority for the area in which the animal is kept. The cost for registration shall be fifty dollars ($50.00) per year.
(2) Obtain and maintain liability insurance coverage or show financial responsibility in an amount of at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) to cover damages resulting from an attack by the dangerous animal causing bodily injury to a person or for damages to any person’s property resulting from the keeping of such dangerous animal. A certificate of insurance or other evidence of meeting the above requirements shall be filed with the city animal control facility before said dangerous animal shall be returned to the owner if it is being held by the city or a veterinarian.
(3) Restrain the dangerous animal at all times on a leash in the immediate control of a person or in a “secure enclosure.” The enclosure must have secure sides, a secure top attached to the sides, and a secure bottom which is either attached to the sides or else the sides of the structure must be embedded in the ground no less than two (2) feet. In addition, the secure enclosure must be:
(B) Capable of preventing the escape or release of the animal;
(C) Clearly marked as containing a dangerous animal.
(4) The owner shall post a sign on his premises warning that there is a “dangerous animal on the property.” This sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the public street or highway. In addition, the area where the animal is kept must be kept secure from small children from gaining access.
(5) The dangerous animal, when taken outside the enclosure, must be securely muzzled in a manner that will not cause injury to the animal nor interfere with its vision or respiration, but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal.
(6) A dangerous animal may not be chained to any object outside the dwelling or locked enclosure either on or off the property of the owner.
(b) If the owner of an animal declared to be dangerous is unable or unwilling to comply with the ownership requirements listed above at any time, the animal must be euthanized by the city animal control division or a licensed veterinarian or removed from the city. An animal declared to be dangerous under this chapter shall not be offered for adoption or sale within the city unless the new owner is willing to comply with the provisions of this article. Transfer of the dangerous animal to a new owner must be approved by the animal health advisory committee.
(Ordinance 03-065, sec. 1, adopted 7/29/03; 1978 Code, sec. 5-19.2)
Sec. 4.05.004 Reporting significant events
(a) The owner of an animal declared dangerous under the provisions of this article shall report any of the following events within five (5) days to the animal control officer:
(1) Permanent removal of the animal from the city.
(2) Death of the animal.
(3) The birth of any offspring of the animal, including the number, markings, color and sex.
(4) Change of location within the city.
(b) The owner of an animal declared dangerous under the provisions of this article shall report immediately to the animal control supervisor the escape of the animal or an attack or biting of a person or other animal.
(Ordinance 03-065, sec. 1, adopted 7/29/03; 1978 Code, sec. 5-19.3; Ordinance 07-014, sec. 6, adopted 2/13/07)
Sec. 4.05.005 Penalties for violation
The owner of an animal declared to be dangerous herein shall also be subject to a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) but not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each violation of section 4.05.003 or 4.05.004 of this chapter or for interference with enforcement of this chapter. This penal provision is in addition to any administrative determination by the animal control officer or the director of the city health department. (Ordinance 03-065, sec. 1, adopted 7/29/03; Ordinance 06-048, sec. 3, adopted 8/22/06; 1978 Code, sec. 5-19.4; Ordinance 07-014, sec. 7, adopted 2/13/07)
Sec. 4.05.006 Notice to law enforcement authorities and victims before euthanasia or disposal of animal involved in fatal or serious injury to persons
(a) No animal known or believed to have inflicted a serious injury or fatality of a person shall be euthanized or disposed of pursuant to section 4.05.002(d), section 4.05.003(b), or any other provision of this chapter, unless and until the city police department, and any other law enforcement authority known or believed to be involved in an investigation of the incident, has been notified of the intention of the city public health department to euthanize or dispose of the animal and such law enforcement authorities have been given a reasonable opportunity to assume custody of the animal should they choose to do so.
(b) No animal known or believed to have inflicted a serious injury or fatality of a person shall be euthanized or disposed of pursuant to section 4.05.002(d), section 4.05.003(b), or any other provision of this chapter, unless and until the victim, the victim’s next-of-kin or the victim’s legal representative has been notified of the intention of the city public health department to euthanize or dispose of the animal and such person given a reasonable opportunity to investigate the animal and gather evidence (such as size and weight measurements, photographs and videotapes) as they deem appropriate and a reasonable opportunity to secure an order concerning preservation and continuing custody of the animal as evidence from a court of competent jurisdiction, should they choose to do so.
(Ordinance 03-065, sec. 1, adopted 7/29/03; 1978 Code, sec. 5-19.5)
Sec. 4.05.007 Exceptions
(a) No animal shall be declared a dangerous animal if the threat, injury or damage caused by the animal was the result of a willful trespass upon another’s property, or the person injured was tormenting, abusing or assaulting the animal or its owner, or was committing or attempting to commit a crime at the time of injury unless other independent grounds exist for such a declaration.
(b) If the sole cause of the attack was that the animal was injured and responding to pain.
(c) The provisions of this article shall not apply to animals under the control of a law enforcement or military agency.
(Ordinance 03-065, sec. 1, adopted 7/29/03; 1978 Code, sec. 5-19.6)
Family Bystander Mental Anguish Claims
Texas recognizes the right of bystanders to recover damages for mental anguish caused by witnessing an accident, with the following limitations: the bystander must be a parent or child of the victim and the victim must have been killed or severely injured in the animal attack or mauling. Therefore, if you have witnessed a close family member mauled or bitten by a dog, you may want to pursue legal action on behalf of the injury victim as well as your own claims for witnessing such a horrific event. Contact a Beaumont dog bite lawyer today to discuss bystander and mental anguish claims.
Negligence Based on Failure to Stop an Attack
A Texas dog owner owes a duty to attempt to stop his dog from attacking a person after the attack has begun. This is a civil duty, meaning that the Beaumont dog bite victim can sue for monetary damages if the dog owner does not attempt to stop the attack.
If you or a loved one have been bitten or mauled by a dangerous dog in Beaumont or Jefferson County, TX, please contact one of the experienced Beaumont dog bite injury lawyers listed on this page.
What Should You Do if You Have Been Bitten by a Dog?
- Make every attempt to keep the animal in sight, find its owner, and obtain the owner’s contact information, preferably verified by their photo ID.
- Immediately wash the wound out with soap and warm water.
- Make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus shots.
- Seek the help of a physician or visit a local hospital.
- Report the bite to the El Paso Planning and Development Services Department (contact information below).
- Seek the help of an El Paso dog bite attorney, if necessary, and maintain copies of all medical records and other relevant evidence.
For more information on dog bites and their victims, visit DogsBite.org
Dog Bite Reporting:
If you would like to report a Beaumont area or Jefferson County dog bite or ask other questions pertaining to veterinary public health, do not hesitate to contact the Beaumont Planning and Development Services Department office at:
A variety of animal training classes and services are offered by the Beaumont SPCA. The Beaumont Humane Society may be reached at:
Beaumont Humane Society
Contact one of the experienced Beaumont dog bite lawyers above for a consultation regarding your claim.
Personal Injury Attorneys Serve Beaumont and Surrounding Cities
Serving clients throughout Southeastern Texas, including Amelia, Beaumont, Bevil Oaks, Bridge City, Central Gardens, China, Fannett, Groves, Labelle, Lakeview, Lemonville, Mauriceville, Nederland, Nome, Orange, Orangefield, Pine Forest, Port Acres, Port Arthur, Port Neches, Rose City, Rose Hill Acres, Rosedale, Sabine, Sabine Pass, Sour Lake, Spindletop, Vidor, Viterbo and other communities in Jefferson County.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, please contact one of the experienced Jefferson County dog bite lawyers listed on this page.
- Make every attempt to keep the animal in sight, find its owner, and obtain the owner’s contact information, preferably verified by their photo ID.
- Immediately wash the wound out with soap and warm water.
- Make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus shots.
- Seek the help of a physician or visit a local hospital.
- Report the bite to the Beaumont Planning and Development Services Department (contact information below).
- Seek the help of a Beaumont dog bite attorney, if necessary, and maintain copies of all medical records and other relevant evidence.