New protection for lost pets in Dallas

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on May 26, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 26 at 7:44 PM

DALLAS — The Dallas City Council is throwing pet owners a bone. They're making it harder for your dog to wind up as someone else's pet if it's stolen or disappears from your yard.

The Council's action follows a News 8 report last year on the lack of teeth in the current ordinance.

Dusty, a Siberian Husky, is back home. But the odyssey he took — from which his mates Cosmo and Diamond have yet to return — resulted in a new law in Dallas regarding stray dogs.

It was pursued by the dogs' owner, Brad Kirby. "If I can save one dog from being stolen by a thief, that makes it all worthwhile," he said.

Kirby believes all three dogs were stolen. He got Dusty back when the Garland city pound identified the dog's microchip identification. Kirby traced back to the man whom he believes stole the dogs.

But Dallas police told him they could file no case, since one saw the alleged theft and there was no law that someone who possesses a stray must try and find the dog's owner.

Not any more.

Council member Ron Natinsky supported Kirby’s idea. "In this particular case, we put the ordinance on the book as a requirement that if somebody takes possession of a dog, they contact animal services and or a vet to determine who the owner is," Natinsky said.

The finder of a stray can also call the phone number on the tag. The search must be made within 72 hours after taking possession of the pet.

But Council member Vonciel Jones Hill was was concerned that someone offering momentary help — like a bowl of milk — could be implicated. "This ordinance places an inordinate burden on any person who was trying to have some kindness towards a stray," she said.

A majority of Council members agreed with Kirby, however, and he is grateful.

"Now they have to be a little bit responsible as to try and find the owner," he said.

The ordinance becomes effective immediately. Anyone found guilty of violating it could face a fine up to $500.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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