Dangerous dogs can be a neighborhood menace. Many residents call or email me asking if Dallas can prohibit certain breeds of dogs, like pitbulls. Unfortunately, state law prevents breed-specific ordinances. However, Dallas does have a process in place to address dangerous dogs, defined as:
- A dog that makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own; or
- A dog commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own, and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person.
If a dog has been deemed dangerous in the City of Dallas, the owner must comply with specific requirements within 30 days of learning that he is the owner of a dangerous dog:
- have an unsterilized dangerous dog spayed or neutered;
- register the dangerous dog with the director and pay to the director a dangerous dog registration fee of $50;
- restrain the dangerous dog at all times on a leash, in the immediate control of a person or in a secure enclosure;
- obtain liability insurance coverage or show financial responsibility in an amount of at least $100,000 to cover damages resulting from an attack by the dangerous dog causing bodily injury to a person and provide proof of the required liability insurance coverage or financial responsibility to the director;
- place and maintain on the dangerous dog a collar or harness with a current dangerous dog registration tag securely attached to it;
- have the dangerous dog injected with a microchip implant and registered with a national registry for dogs;
- post a sign at each entrance to the enclosure in which the dangerous dog is confined stating “BEWARE DANGEROUS DOG”; and
- renew registration of the dangerous dog with the director annually and pay an annual dangerous dog registration fee to the director of $50.
If a dog has bitten you, you can go through a process to get the dog declared dangerous by filling out an affidavit and requesting a dangerous dog hearing (if the dog caused bodily injury). You can find more information about dangerous dogs on the city’s website.