§ 14-12. Dangerous animals  


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  • (a) No person shall own, keep, or harbor an animal that has been declared dangerous within the city.

    (b) A law enforcement or military agency is not subject to this section.

    (c) For the purposes of this chapter, an animal may be declared dangerous if the animal:

    (1) Is an exotic animal;

    (2) Exhibits or has exhibited vicious behavior, including, but not limited to:

    a. Without provocation, biting or attacking a person or another animal; or

    b. Biting or attacking a person or animal, causing injuries creating a potential danger to the health or life of the victim; or

    c. Has been purchased, bred, sold, trained, or harbored for the purpose of the animal fighting; or

    d. A microchip has been implanted in the animal because of a prior bite or attack.

    (d) The animal control officer shall, upon determining that an animal meets the definition of a dangerous animal, apply to the municipal court for an order declaring the animal to be dangerous. Unless the owner of the dangerous animal restrains the dangerous animal at all times by a leash in the immediate control of a person or in a secure enclosure, the animal control officer shall seize the dangerous animal and provide for the impoundment of the dangerous animal, at the cost of the owner of the dangerous animal, in secure and humane conditions.

    (e) The court, on receiving an application to declare an animal dangerous, shall set a hearing to determine whether the animal is a dangerous animal. If the dangerous animal has been impounded, the hearing must be held not later than the tenth day after the date on which the dangerous animal was seized. The court shall give written notice of the time and the place of the hearing to:

    (1) The owner of the animal or the person from whom the animal was seized; and

    (2) Any person who complained to the animal control officer regarding the animal.

    (f) Any interested person, including the city attorney, is entitled to present evidence at the hearing.

    (g) If the municipal court declares the animal dangerous, the municipal court shall:

    (1) Order that the animal be euthanized;

    (2) Order that the animal be implanted with a microchip and returned to the owner (after payment of all expenses of holding the animal, including microchip implantation, during the pendency of the proceedings) for permanent relocation outside the city limits; or

    (3) Order that the owner of the animal, before the animal may be returned to the owner:

    a. Demonstrate financial responsibility as set forth in V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 822.042(a)(3);

    b. Demonstrate that the animal has been implanted with a microchip;

    c. Demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court that the owner has a "secure enclosure," as defined by V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 822.041(4), available for keeping the animal; and

    d. Pay any expenses of holding the animal, including the cost of microchip implantation, during the pendency of the proceedings.

    (h) The animal control officer shall immediately notify the animal's owner or custodian of the court's determination by personal service, or by certified mail, return receipt requested. The animal, if not already impounded, shall be immediately surrendered to the animal control officer.

    (i) The owner or the animal control officer may appeal the decision of the municipal court in the manner provided for appeal from the municipal court. The disposition of the animal shall be stayed, but an animal that has been impounded shall remain impounded during the pendency of the appeal.

(Ord. No. O-50-10, § I, 9-27-2009; Ord. No. O-2-11, § I, 1-24-2011)