Following three cases in Killeen where people were attacked by dogs, including a March 1 incident that left a 2-year-old dead, the City Council is set to discuss its options.
The council will “discuss options to enforce animal ownership and responsibilities,” according to the agenda for the council’s workshop meeting, set for 5 p.m. today.
The city currently has a vicious dog ordinance, which prohibits residents from owning dangerous animals. According to the ordinance, a dog is considered vicious or dangerous when its owner knows about an attack or bite committed by the animal, or Animal Control or the municipal court determines the animal is dangerous.
In February, a dog described as a Malinois shepherd-mix attacked three children before it was shot and killed by a Killeen police officer.
The owner of the dog was given two citations — one for having a dog at large and a second for failure to provide rabies vaccination verification.
Less than a month later, in March, a bull mastiff broke free while it was being moved from the backyard to the garage. It attacked an 8-year-old and a 2-year-old in a Killeen neighborhood, killing 2-year-old Raymane Camari Robinson Jr.
The woman who was caring for the dog at the time was issued a $164 animal-at-large citation. The dog’s owner, who was not at home during the attack, was not charged.
A third attack followed in April when three pit bulls attacked two children and an adult.
Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin said it is an issue the council has talked about several times.
“We’ve discussed this over and over again for many years,” Corbin said. “The most we can legally do is what we are doing right now and that’s have a vicious dog ordinance.”
State law prohibits municipalities from passing any breed-specific legislation.
“There are certain areas of the law that the state handles and we’re not allowed to pass laws in those particular areas,” Corbin said.
“In other words, we can’t pass an ordinance with regard to murder because there’s already a state law in the penal code.”
When asked by the Herald last month if the city should examine its existing ordinance, council members said it’s an issue they wanted to re-examine.
Tonight’s meeting is at the Utility Collections conference room, 210 W. Avenue C.
Contact Natalie Stewart at email@example.com or 254-501-7555