Latest dog attack leads to criminal charges under new city ordinance

- The city of Dallas is pursuing criminal charges for a dog attack under a new city ordinance. It is one of the first criminal cases in the city's crackdown on loose dogs.        

FOX 4 News was there Sunday just after the attack in Pleasant Grove. The victim says she was bitten repeatedly by one of two dogs that got loose from a neighbor's yard. She says she was terrified.

Cassandra Smith says she normally carries a metal pipe and knife because of dog problems in the neighborhood, but she's never had to use them before this incident. She's also glad to know there will be criminal charges under the city's new dangerous and aggressive dog ordinance.

Just back from the hospital, 57-year-old Cassandra Smith reliving the terrifying moment a bull terrier attacked her and her dog Sunday afternoon in the 800 block of North Pleasant Woods Drive.

“I got puncture holes on this side and this side on my leg,” she recalled. “He would not let my leg go. Period.”

The attack happened in Pleasant Grove, one of the Dallas neighborhoods where loose dogs have been an ongoing problem.

Smith says she initially noticed a small bull terrier whining inside the fence of a home on the corner. Then she saw a larger bull terrier outside the fence running towards her. She used the metal pipe and knife she was carrying to defend herself.

“I was stabbing that dog. Beating that dog. I was doing everything to that dog,” she said.

A witness who tried to help yelled for Smith's brother, who was able to get the dog to let go of his sister's leg. It went back across the street and laid next to the smaller dog. At some point, it had also gotten out of the yard but did not attack Smith.

FOX 4 News was on scene before Animal Control Services arrived to seize both dogs. The larger dog was clearly injured with knife wounds.

The man who lives at the home said he was taking care of the dogs for a friend and doesn't know how they got out of the yard.

In a statement, Dallas Animal Services says the presumed owner was issued six citations, including "allowing a dog to bite" which is a misdemeanor charge as of last month. The city did not clarify who is the presumed owner.

Smith says whoever is responsible for the dogs getting loose should be held accountable.

“That dog could have killed me. And you couldn't even come over here and say “I’m sorry, ma’am.’ Yeah, I think he should be charged,” Smith said. “I have never been scared of dogs, but now I'm afraid to walk around here. Period!”

The dog that committed the attack remains under quarantine at Dallas Animal Services while it's being checked for rabies.

In previous dog bite cases, the city says many owners would simply surrender their animals to avoid penalties. But under the new ordinance, the misdemeanor charges still apply even if that happens.

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