Since Jan. 1, more than 100 dog bites have been reported to Killeen Animal Control, including an attack in March that killed a 2-year-old boy, Killeen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin told the City Council on Tuesday.
Angela Robinson, whose only child, Raymane Camari Robinson Jr., was killed in a March 1 attack by a bull mastiff, attended Tuesday’s workshop meeting in hopes the city would address its existing animal regulations.
Baldwin briefed the council on possible options to strengthen the city’s existing ordinances regarding dog ownership and responsibilities, which the council followed up with an hourlong discussion. The majority of the council consented to moving forward with requiring all dogs in the city be microchipped.
Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone and Councilman Jonathan Okray said they thought requiring all dogs to be microchipped is “excessive.”
“I think we might be a little bit overboard with every dog in the city because it’s hard to find an at-large dog if they’re a house dog. ... They’re not out for (Animal Control) to require me to microchip and register,” Okray said.
Baldwin said microchipping the dogs will help owners locate missing pets, and will help the police department to hold dog owners accountable.
It costs $15 to get a dog microchipped at the Killeen Animal Shelter.
Another recommendation the council consented to move on is allowing Code Enforcement and Animal Control to enforce stricter fencing requirements.
Options for fencing requirements would mandate that the owner of a dog that’s kept in an insufficient enclosure fix the enclosure within a specified amount of time.
George Fox, a longtime animal advisory committee member, said the city currently has an “outstanding” fencing ordinance, but the problem is, it’s buried.
“What we need to do is take what it currently says and move it over to restraint of the animal ordinance,” he said. “In that ordinance, it says if the fence is messed up and it covers a pool, it has to be fixed immediately. We (should) change it to say if there’s a pool or a dog, it needs to be fixed immediately.”
Another option presented to the council by Baldwin was to require all dogs be spayed and neutered, still allowing breeding permits, but the council wasn’t in favor of that option.
Fox said having animals spayed and neutered would help the situation, because it changes the animals’ temperament, making it more docile. Following the council’s discussion, Corbin looked at Robinson and said “you do have our condolences, and we’re going to do what we can to make things better. ... I want you to know that we’re serious about trying to improve the situation.”
Robinson told the Herald, “Some of the things I think need to be changed. I felt if I didn’t go public with what happened to Camari and say what I felt needs to be done, then they would have just overlooked it,” she said.
“I hope that they would really bring to light that this is a really big issue. Something needs to be done to save more lives, not only kids but adults, too. It needs to be changed where people feel safe going outside again.”
Lee Caufield, the Killeen Police Department commander in charge of animal control, sits on the city’s animal advisory committee. He will take the council’s recommendations and bring them before the committee at its May 15 meeting for further discussion.
Once the details are ironed out in committee, the changes will go back before the council for final approval. The animal advisory committee is slated to meet at noon May 15 in the City Hall main conference room, 101 N. College St.