Harker Heights City Council members at their first meeting of 2018 on Tuesday approved an ordinance amending the regulation of dangerous dogs.
Changes to certain ordinances are expected to help modernize and streamline Animal Services to controlling dangerous dogs.
In summary, the ordinance includes changes such as providing a better definition of a dangerous dog. The changes improve on the definition as outlined in the State of Texas Heath and Human Regulation by identifying that in the case when a dog attacks a human or domestic animal with provocation, it may be regarded dangerous.
The definition also allows for a dog to be considered dangerous if it demonstrates a threatening or aggressive behavior with an apparent ability and inclination to attack, injure or kill a human being or domestic animal with provocation.
The ordinance also defines the procedures to be used by an animal services officer as the officers investigate a dangerous-dog report.
Another consideration is stipulating how a dog will be determined to be dangerous by either the municipal court or an animal services officer.
The ordinance also sets the requirements for an owner of a dangerous dog. They include:
a. The construction of a secure enclosure.
b. Microchipping the dog.
c. Sterilizing the dog.
d. Obtaining liability insurance on the dog in the amount of $200,000.
e. Maintaining the dog on a leash and muzzled when not inside or inside and secure enclosure.
f. Sets forth an annual registration for the dog and stipulates that up to four times a year, an animal services officer may perform a compliance inspection.
The amendment also prevents dogs that have been deemed dangerous by other municipalities from being relocated to Harker Heights.
The council approved another dog-related ordinance that amends a requirement of mandatory sterilization of animals under certain circumstances.
The summary of these changes includes:
1. Requiring an animal that has been impounded two or more times and is a least 8 months old to be sterilized.
2. The owner must sign an agreement promising to have the animal sterilized.
3. The owner is to make a $100 deposit to secure the obligation to have the animal sterilized within a timely manner.
4. Sets the deadline for proof of sterilization at 30 days.
Council members voted 5-0 to approve the ordinance amendment.