'Dangerous' dogs in Fort Worth can be expensive

Print
Email
|

by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on June 8, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 8 at 9:00 PM

FORT WORTH — Jeanine Owens knows her pit bulls escaped from her yard, and she admits neither one has current vaccinations.

But she says the bite on her neighbor's leg shouldn't be a death sentence.

"He kind of attacked the next-door neighbor's dog, but I mean he didn't attack him," Owens said. "They just kind of played with him, but they took it the wrong way."

As a result, however, Owens' mother was issued three tickets that could cost her $6,000. She'll also have to pay for updated shots and fees to get the dog who bit neighbor Sean Rojas out of quarantine.

And that's just the start, if Rojas decides to take the case to court.

Fort Worth Animal Care and Control says it's up to the victims to decide whether a dog is deemed "dangerous." If it is, more often than not, the pet is never claimed by its owner from the pound.

That's because labeling a dog "dangerous" is expensive for the owner. There's a $500 annual license. Owners also have to carry $100,000 in liability insurance for each dog.

A "dangerous" dog must also be kept in a special pen that costs thousands more.

The city says the price is too steep for most owners, and the dangerous dogs are put down.

"This has nothing to do with the breed," said Keane Menefee of the city's Animal Care and Control division. "This starts with irresponsible pet owners that don't properly contain their animals, don't socialize their animals, and don't properly train their animals."

The dog that didn't bite Sean Rojas is now safe behind a newly-repaired fence.

Owens' family has offered to pay the medical bills for their wounded neighbor, hoping that's enough give their other dog a new leash on life.

Fort Worth says only six dogs in the entire city — Tank, Lola, Libby, Piper, Duke and Dixie — are registered as "dangerous." Those owners paid their annual fees, and they also have to post their addresses so neighbors know where the dogs are kept.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

Print
Email
|