Dallas City Council conducted its first hearing at last week’s meeting on removing the owner’s ability to call an animal and it come to them from the definition of “under control.”
The ordinance currently states, “Under control means any animal that is on the property and/or premises of its owner, or is secured by a leash, chain or lead of sufficient strength or fence to prevent it from escaping from its owner when away from the premises of the owner.
“An animal may be considered under control if the owner is accompanying the animal and has voice, whistle or other control over said animal and said animal is trained to respond to said voice, whistle or other control.”
The council plans to have a second hearing, and could vote on the matter at its Sept. 9 meeting.
Ward 1 Council Member Chris Carter is the chairman of the city’s public safety committee, which has been working on the animal policy for months.
“In my opinion we should strike out the voice control,” Carter said.
Chief Marshal Michael Hester, who enforces the policy, asked city council to make the change.
He said the current ordinance cannot easily be enforced.
“We have large dogs roaming through the city,” he said.
Once the animals are reported, Hester investigates if they are not on their owner’s property, and notifies county animal control officers to pick up the animals if Hester sees an ordinance violation.
However, under the current ordinance, owners could call their dogs and be in compliance if the animal returns to its owner’s property.
Hester, who is the code enforcement officer for the city, said, “It [animal control] is one of my biggest call volumes.”
Carter said the council is considering “revamping the whole ordinance.”
He said he hopes it will be presented to the council in about three months.