The family of a woman mauled to death by a pack of dogs in South Dallas is demanding $5 million from the City of Dallas. But a city attorney believes Dallas isn’t liable because of governmental immunity.
Nearly a month after a pack of dogs attacked and killed the Army veteran, a city commission on Thursday debated the best way to get a handle on the city's loose dog problem and also briefly discussed the money sought by Antionette Brown’s family.
The city's animal shelter commission chair, Peter Brodsky, said the city still needs to do more to get a handle on the problem. He says this year Dallas has picked up fewer dogs compared with last year, despite evidence of a bigger problem.
"If these dogs had been picked up Antionette Brown would be alive,” Brodsky said. "While we are not picking up dogs and writing citing with no enforcement, people are being bitten!"
Ron Lane's granddaughter shot video of three dogs roaming his neighborhood on Oak Valley Lane near Dallas Executive Airport.
“My granddaughters are trying to get out of the car, and there are two pit bulls,” said Lane. “And they couldn't get out until my granddaughter started blowing on the horn."
One of the complaints after Brown's death was slow response from police.
“Two police cars came, and they stayed there an hour until they finally saw the dogs,” said Lane.
Assistant City Manager Joey Zapata says the city is working with DPD to increase enforcement of Dallas Animal Services citations. A new deputy chief will be embedded in animal services along with two other officers. One commissioner said the city needs to hire more animal control officers.
“When you have 4-5 field officers in a city of 1.2 million people trying to cover the entire city, you're not going to solve anything,” said Teresa Gubbins with the animal control commission.
Zapata says the city will likely increase Dallas Animal Service's budget for next year.
Brodsky told commissioners that he has raised private donations to hire a consulting firm that will analyze and then recommend how to overhaul Dallas Animal Services. But some feel the money would be better used going toward spay and neuter effort, rather than another study.
The consulting firm will report back in 11 weeks.