Posted on Tue, Aug. 11, 2009
FORT WORTH — The City Council adopted a new, tougher animal control ordinance Tuesday, after hearing from the family of a girl who was mauled to death by a neighbor’s dog.
Brooklynn Milburn, 3, died Jan. 17 after she got through a hole in a neighbor’s fence. She was killed by the neighbor’s Rottweiler.
Elizabeth Milburn, Brooklynn’s mother, said the ordinance might have prevented the girl’s death. It requires stronger fences and encourages owners to have their dogs spayed or neutered, which is widely believed to make dogs more docile. The dog that killed Brooklynn had not been neutered.
David Kerzee, Brooklynn’s grandfather, said the council should send a message.
"If you can’t afford an enclosure, don’t own the dog. If you can’t afford to register, don’t own the dog," he said.
Dog-rescue groups and the Humane Society of North Texas also pushed for the tougher ordinance and argued that it should be even stronger. The city would allow people to keep "intact" animals if the owner pays a one-time fee. The rescue groups want an annual fee.
Dog breeders and other opponents said the city should enforce the laws it has.
"The people who allow the dogs to run free are the ones who we need to hold accountable," one opponent said.
Council members voted for the ordinance unanimously.
"We have innocent citizens being bitten, we have needless loss of life," Mayor Mike Moncrief said.
The ordinance goes into effect in a few months.
Among the major provisions:
Dogs will have to be spayed or neutered unless the owner takes a two-hour class or pays a one-time $50 fee.
The price of a dog license will rise from $7 to $12 annually.
People who get an identification chip implanted in their animal can get a three-year license for the same price as a one-year license. Currently, all animals released from the city shelter are required to have a chip.
All dogs will have to be confined by a 4-foot fence in an enclosure of at least 48 square feet.
Owners of aggressive dogs will have to build stronger fences in some cases, even if the dog has not attacked a person. Dogs could be declared aggressive if they dig out of their yard or attack other animals.
Dogs declared dangerous in other cities cannot be moved to Fort Worth.
Police or animal control officers will be allowed to seize animals that are tethered to a fixed object.
Unrestrained dogs will not be allowed to ride in the backs of pickups.http://www.star-telegram.com/metro_news ... 32976.html