FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Fort Worth is like many other Texas cities.
When your animal is seized after someone files a dangerous animal complaint, there is a municipal court hearing.
If your dog is deemed dangerous by the city judge, you either meet the city’s criteria to get your dog back or your pet is euthanized. There is no chance of appeal. A Fort Worth woman is challenging the constitutionality of the process.
“Its not just about my dogs at this point,” said Rana Soluri, who had two dogs seized as dangerous animals. “It’s about everybody’s pets. Everybody is at risk.”
Soluri says her constitutional rights were violated. Her two pit bulls, Lilo and Stich, are facing euthanasia in Fort worth on November 7.
Soluri says a neighbor, who has animosity towards her because of her Middle Eastern heritage and Muslim faith, complained after the dogs escaped from her yard and chased the neighbor into her house. A court ruled the dogs as dangerous animals.
By the municipal court’s order, Soluri would have to build a special kennel for the dogs including signs warning people about the presence of dangerous animals, pay a thousand dollars a year for two special permits, and have the dogs leashed and muzzled outside of their enclosures.
She says Fort Worth told her to comply or the dogs will die.
“Where’s my rights?” Soluri asked. “I thought I had a right to appeal a decision. And then they turn around and tell you that you can’t.”
A municipal judge held off putting the dogs down until November 7, while the question of whether the city’s ordinance is constitutional is argued in a criminal district court.
Animal control workers say they’re afraid they’ll be forced to put dangerous dogs back on the street and the city will be held liable if someone is attacked.
Fort Worth attorneys argued in court that the way Texas laws are written, Fort Worth doesn’t need an appeals system outside of city courts to euthanize dogs. They also said the city offered to allow Soluri to use her home as the confinement to meet the court requirements so she could bypass
building an expensive kennel.
Soluri said she did not take the city up on the offer because she thought it was a plea bargain to keep her from arguing the constitutionality of the law.
Soluri told the court an animal rights group, The Lexus Project, had picked up her case and raised thousands of dollars over the internet.
When asked if the money was for her dogs’ welfare, Soluri said the money was for legal costs. The dogs are still in the city’s care and the district court hearing the arguments about the law’s constitutionality cannot change the November 7 euthanasia date from the municipal court.
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