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DALLAS (CBSDFW) – Dog owners in Dallas could face tougher new laws as the city is considering proposals to make micro-chipping and sterilization mandatory.
Veronica Sariles, who survived a dog attack last week, says she is studying up on the ideas presented by city staff.
Sariles says she was surprised when her sister’s pet latched onto her leg and foot, ripping away skin and severing a tendon.
“I could feel my skin being pierced through. I could feel serious damage being done,” she said. “I just fought and that was the only way I knew how to get through it.”
She says she shook him free long enough to reach her car, but the severity of the attack shocked her.
“I looked at the street and I could see pieces of my skin laying right there,” she said.
A city council committee Monday heard a list of proposed measures aimed at making dog owners more accountable. Among the ideas are requiring micro-chipping, which would allow the city to more easily trace dogs back to their owners. The city is also studying the benefits of requiring sterilization, with exceptions granted for dogs that are older, in ill health, or – in certain cases – those used for breeding.
“Over 80 percent of attacks and injuries are due to unsterilized male dogs,” said Assistant City Manager Joey Zapata, who oversees Dallas Animal Services.
Unsterilized dogs, he says, are more likely to display aggression and to roam.
City staff is also considering bigger fines for owners who break the rules, an effort to lobby the state legislature to allow criminal charges against any owner whose dog injures someone, and giving animal control the power the seize dogs found to be unsterilized.
It’s also looking at offering free spay/neuter surgeries to make it easier for people to comply.
“We’ll say, you’ve got to fix your animal. It’s gonna be free. And if you don’t comply, we’re gonna impound it,” said Zapata, of the how the city could approach owners of lost dogs in the future.
Sariles wouldn’t want to see her sister face charges, but she says she does favor a tough approach on the dog due to the viciousness of the unprovoked attack.
“I believe the dog should be put down,” she said. “A child would not have made it through the attack.”
Zapata says a city council committee will be presented with possible action on the proposals in August.
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