Dangerous Dog Laws – San Antonio Defense

Posted on Oct 4, 2012


In San Antonio Texas, there are numerous Dog Laws.  I provided this link to the animal laws for our city because these ordinances are relatively hard to find on Google.

Over time, our Lawyer Defend ME Blog will cover all of the various Dog Bite Laws relevant to criminal defendants, but today we will start by talking about Dangerous Dog Laws.  All of the laws which this article discusses are posted below for your reference as well.

A Dangerous Dog is a dog that attacks a person, causing injury to the person.  If the dog was provoked to do the attack, then the dog is not considered a “dangerous dog” for purposes of this law.

How is it determined that a person has a dangerous dog?  Essentially, someone goes to Animal Control Services (ACS), and fills out a signed affidavit that describes a dog acting dangerously (attacking a person, growling or making other threatening actions).

Most Dogs are Not Dangerous

Dangerous Dog Investigations and Search Warrants

After this affidavit is filed, an animal control services officer, will open an investigation.  One animal control services officer of San Antonio is Joel Skidmore (facebook page). The officer will then start to investigate the issue.  As you can imagine, we cannot have a justice system that makes a legal finding of a “dangerous dog” simply because someone fills out an affidavit.  However, an Animal Control Officer DOES have the power, based on this little affidavit alone, to go to your house and TAKE YOUR DOG.  According to the below posted San Antonio Law, an officer MUST first get a search warrant before taking your dog, if you as the owner refuse to surrender your dog.

This is very important for owners of dogs to understand:  If your dog is accused of attacking another person or dog, then you do not have an obligation to surrender your dog, unless you are presented with a search warrant.  The search warrant will help cause an officer to detail the reasons why he thinks your dog is dangerous in writing.  The magistrate judge, if doing his or her job diligently, will evaluate whether this search warrant should be issued, and on occasion, the search warrant will be denied.

**** We have had at least one instance in San Antonio, where an animal control officer, went to a home and insisted on taking dogs from a family without first obtaining a search warrant that we at Cook & Cook personally know of. ****

After the dog is taken from the family and impounded, the director will make a determination of whether the dog is dangerous, and will give the family notice of the dangerous dog finding within 5 days.  At that time, the notice will give a time a place to have a hearing on the dangerous dog issue before a municipal court judge.

At the hearing, there will be no jury.  The Judge will hear all of the evidence from relevant witnesses and will decide on whether the dogs are indeed dangerous as determined originally by the director. If the Judge determines that a dog is dangerous, then the owner will have 15 days from that date to appeal the dangerous dog finding, again.

What Happens if Your Dog is Found to Be Dangerous?

In San Antonio, According to the classification of danger the dog is assigned to, the dog laws state that the owner will be obligated to abide my multiple rules regarding the dog.  The owner will muzzle the dog when the dog is out of an enclosure.  All rules can be referenced below.

What Happens If Your Dog Bit Another Person?

If a dog is not just considered dangerous, but actually causes death or serious bodily injury to another, then under 822 of the Health & Safety Code, the following State laws apply:

Sec. 822.002.  SEIZURE OF A DOG CAUSING DEATH OF OR SERIOUS BODILY INJURY TO A PERSON. (a) A justice court, county court, or municipal court shall order the animal control authority to seize a dog and shall issue a warrant authorizing the seizure:

(1)  on the sworn complaint of any person, including the county attorney, the city attorney, or a peace officer, that the dog has caused the death of or serious bodily injury to a person by attacking, biting, or mauling the person; and

(2)  on a showing of probable cause to believe that the dog caused the death of or serious bodily injury to the person as stated in the complaint.

(b)  The animal control authority shall seize the dog or order its seizure and shall provide for the impoundment of the dog in secure and humane conditions until the court orders the disposition of the dog.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Renumbered from Health & Safety Code Sec. 822.001 and amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 822.003.  HEARING. (a) The court shall set a time for a hearing to determine whether the dog caused the death of or serious bodily injury to a person by attacking, biting, or mauling the person. The hearing must be held not later than the 10th day after the date on which the warrant is issued.

(b)  The court shall give written notice of the time and place of the hearing to:

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

(2)  the person who made the complaint.

(c)  Any interested party, including the county attorney or city attorney, is entitled to present evidence at the hearing.

(d)  The court shall order the dog destroyed if the court finds that the dog caused the death of a person by attacking, biting, or mauling the person. If that finding is not made, the court shall order the dog released to:

(1)  its owner;

(2)  the person from whom the dog was seized; or

(3)  any other person authorized to take possession of the dog.

(e)  The court may order the dog destroyed if the court finds that the dog caused serious bodily injury to a person by attacking, biting, or mauling the person. If that finding is not made, the court shall order the dog released to:

(1)  its owner;

(2)  the person from whom the dog was seized; or

(3)  any other person authorized to take possession of the dog.

(f)  The court may not order the dog destroyed if the court finds that the dog caused the serious bodily injury to a person by attacking, biting, or mauling the person and:

(1)  the dog was being used for the protection of a person or person’s property, the attack, bite, or mauling occurred in an enclosure in which the dog was being kept, and:

(A)  the enclosure was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own and provided notice of the presence of a dog; and

(B)  the injured person was at least eight years of age, and was trespassing in the enclosure when the attack, bite, or mauling occurred;

(2)  the dog was not being used for the protection of a person or person’s property, the attack, bite, or mauling occurred in an enclosure in which the dog was being kept, and the injured person was at least eight years of age and was trespassing in the enclosure when the attack, bite, or mauling occurred;

(3)  the attack, bite, or mauling occurred during an arrest or other action of a peace officer while the peace officer was using the dog for law enforcement purposes;

(4)  the dog was defending a person from an assault or person’s property from damage or theft by the injured person; or

(5)  the injured person was younger than eight years of age, the attack, bite, or mauling occurred in an enclosure in which the dog was being kept, and the enclosure was reasonably certain to keep a person younger than eight years of age from entering.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Renumbered from Health & Safety Code Sec. 822.002 and amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

The Above Dog Law in Layman’s Terms

In sum, this Section 822 of the criminal code supersedes the rules of the City Ordinance.  If a person has a dog that is not only dangerous in that it hurt another animal, but it actually caused serious bodily injury to another person, then the person faces a potential 3rd degree felony charge.  The person’s dog can be ordered not only to have restrictive rules, but can be ordered to be destroyed.  Importantly, a person does not seemingly have a right to appeal under Section 822 of the penal code, which means that if a person’s dog is accused of biting another person, then only a judge will decide whether the dog will be euthanized and further appellate actions by the owner cannot be taken (according to my interpretation of this statute).

My Opinion on Dangerous Dog Laws of San Antonio

I have spent the first part of this post, explaining what the dog law is for purposes of San Antonio, Texas.  Now, I will state my opinion.  The dangerous dog law is problematic because a single person files an affidavit.  This then opens an investigation into a family’s dog.  A judge then decides on whether the dog is dangerous.  A jury is not welcome or invited to make the determination.  We have a jury trial system in our country to prevent, and at the very least, minimize, political corruption.  If a judge is friends with the animal control officer seeking to have the dog euthanized, then the dog is likely to be euthanized.  Judges often favor State agencies when making decisions.  Of course, this is not always the case, but in my experience, it is often the case.  A Judge will favor a district attorney’s office because the district attorney has much more resources to appeal the judge that a criminal defense lawyer.  Similarly, a judge may tend to favor an animal control services officer and the city attorney’s office over a criminal defense attorney.  For this reason, to keep important decisions fair, we need the jury to be the ultimate decider.  The dangerous dog law leaves the jury out, and for that reason, I strongly disapprove of the legislation and the dog law.

Dangerous Dog Laws – San Antonio

For your Reference, the following includes a Copy of the Dangerous Dog Laws for the City of San Antonio

Sec. 5-75. – Dangerous dogs.

Dangerous dogs shall be defined in accordance with V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code ch. 822, subch. D as referenced below and shall be determined and regulated in accordance with said subchapter.

Dangerous dog means a dog that:(1)

Makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the animal was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the animal from leaving the enclosure on its own; (2)

Commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the animal was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the animal from leaving the enclosure on its own and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the animal will attack and cause bodily injury to that person.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10; Ord. No. 2011-10-20-0863, § 2, 10-20-11)

Sec. 5-76. – Investigation, seizure and confinement of alleged dangerous dog.

(a)Upon receipt of a sworn affidavit of complaint, signed by one (1) or more individuals before an individual authorized by law to make sworn statements, the department shall investigate the complaint. The complaint shall contain a description of the incident involving an alleged dangerous dog, as defined above, the date and location of the incident, the name of the owner of the dog, the address of the owner, and a description of the dog(s) involved in the incident. Said investigation may include discussing the incident with the owner/keeper of the dog. The owner/keeper of the dog shall have the right to provide an affidavit or statement concerning his own dog.

(b)After receiving a sworn affidavit of complaint and upon making a decision that seizure is a reasonable precaution to insure the health and safety of people and/or animals nearby, the director or his designee may order the immediate seizure and impound of the dog. An administrative search warrant shall be obtained from any municipal court magistrate to enter onto private property to search for a dog which is allegedly dangerous or has been previously determined to be dangerous, if permission to enter the subject premises is denied by a person in lawful possession. If the dog cannot be safely approached, a tranquilizer projector may be used by department personnel. The cost of securing said dog(s) shall be borne by the owner. If a dog is determined to be dangerous, it will remain in confinement as directed by the director. A dog that has been determined to be dangerous cannot be released back to the owner until the owner is able to demonstrate his ability to comply with all the requirements for dangerous dogs as outlined in section 5-80

(c)An animal care officer may impound an alleged dangerous dog if the officer has cause to believe that a dog is dangerous as defined above.

(d)The director or assistant director shall determine whether a dog is dangerous. Within five (5) working days after the dog is deemed dangerous, the department will notify the owner of the dog, of the dangerous dog determination, by certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice shall include the reason for the allegation, and all requirements for owners of a dog determined to be dangerous as set out insection 5-80

Ord. No. 2011-10-20-0863, § 2, adopted October 20, 2011, changed the title of section 5-76 from “Investigation, seizure and confinement of alleged dangerous animal” to “Investigation, seizure and confinement of alleged dangerous dog.” The historical notation has been preserved for reference purposes.

Sec. 5-77. – Payment for cost of confinement.

(a)The owner of a dog impounded by the department must pay the costs of care of the dog while it is in the custody of the department prior to the release of the dog to the owner. Reasonable expenses for this care include, but are not limited to the cost of housing, feeding, emergency veterinary medical care, immunizations and routine veterinary medical care for the dog.

(b)If a dog is held in impoundment by the department for more than thirty (30) days, the owner of the dog must pay the actual costs accrued for the first thirty (30) days of impoundment, and every thirty (30) days thereafter until the matter for holding the dog has been finalized. The department will mail a notice and statement of costs to the owner of the dog at the address on file with the department. All costs must be paid within a maximum of three (3) business days following the receipt of the notice and statement. If the costs have not been paid within the allotted three (3) business days, this will be considered a voluntary relinquishment of the dog by the owner and the dog shall immediately become the property of the city.

(c)Costs must be paid to the department in cash or certified funds only. The costs shall be deposited into the city’s general trust fund, in a subaccount specific for each case.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10; Ord. No. 2011-10-20-0863, § 2, 10-20-11)

Sec. 5-78. – Appeal of dangerous dog determination to municipal court.

(a)V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 822.0421(b) provides for the appeal of a dangerous dog determination to municipal court.

(b)An owner may appeal a dangerous dog determination by filing a written notice of appeal to municipal court within fifteen (15) days after receiving notice of the determination.

(c)A municipal court judge shall conduct a hearing to determine whether the preponderance of the evidence supports the dangerous dog determination.

(d)The municipal court judge shall be the finder of fact.

(e)At the conclusion of the hearing, the municipal court judge may affirm or reverse the dangerous dog determination.

(f)The department shall retain custody and care of the dog until all appeals are exhausted, unless the owner complies with subsection 5-80(a).

(g)An owner may appeal the decision of the municipal court in the manner provided for the appeal of cases from municipal court.

(h)The municipal court judge may compel the attendance of the complainant, any known witnesses, the dog owner against whom the complaint was filed, and the director or his representative who investigated. The city shall be represented by the city attorney or an assistant city attorney in all appeals of a dangerous dog determination.

Ord. No. 2011-10-20-0863, § 2, adopted October 20, 2011, amended section 5-78 in its entirety to read as herein set out. Formerly, section 5-78 pertained to determination hearing; notice of hearings, and derived from Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, adopted June 17, 2010.

Sec. 5-79. – Hearing to determine compliance with dangerous dog requirements.

(a)V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 822.0423 provides that a municipal court may conduct a hearing to determine whether the owner of a dangerous dog has complied with the requirements for the owner of a dangerous dog.

(b)Upon an application from any person, the municipal court shall conduct a hearing to determine compliance with dangerous dog requirements.

(c)A municipal court judge shall conduct a hearing to determine whether the preponderance of the evidence supports the allegation that the owner has failed to comply with dangerous dog requirements.

(d)The municipal court judge shall be the finder of fact.

(e)At the conclusion of the hearing, if the municipal court judge finds that the owner has failed to comply with the dangerous dog requirements, the judge shall order the seizure of the dog in accordance with V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 822.042.

(f)An owner or the person who filed the application for the hearing may appeal the decision of the municipal court in the manner provided for the appeal of cases from municipal court.

(g)The municipal court judge may compel the attendance of the applicant, any known witnesses, the dog owner against whom the application was filed, and the director or his representative who investigated. Any interested party, including the city attorney or an assistant city attorney, may present evidence at the hearing.

(Ord. No. 2011-10-20-0863, § 2, 10-20-11)

Ord. No. 2011-10-20-0863, § 2, adopted October 20, 2011, amended section 5-79 in its entirety to read as herein set out. Formerly, section 5-78 pertained to defense to determination of dangerous animal and derived from Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, adopted June 17, 2010.

Sec. 5-80. – Requirements of dangerous dog owners.

(a)An owner of a dog determined to be dangerous, must comply with all of the following ten (10) requirements before the subject dog can be released to the owner by the director. The director must, however, release the dog to the owner if a state licensed veterinarian with a facility located within the city verifies, upon being contacted by a city veterinarian or director, that the owner has arranged for the required surgery of the dangerous dog to comply with this article, and a city veterinarian has implanted the required identification microchip in the dog, and has inspected the residence where the dog is to be kept, and is satisfied that the following requirements which could have already been complied with have been complied with by the owner:

(1)The dog must be licensed in accordance with this chapter and shall have a higher licensing fee;

(2)The dangerous dog shall at all times wear a collar approved by the department visible at fifty (50) feet so that the dog can be identified as a dangerous dog. The department is authorized to charge the dog owner a fee to cover the cost of this collar;

(3)The dangerous dog must be kept in an enclosure as defined in section 5-1 of this chapter;

(4)The owner must present to the department a certificate of public liability insurance in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) to cover any injuries caused by the dangerous dog. The insurance shall be kept in effect continuously and shall not be cancelled unless the dog is no longer kept by the insured owner;

(5)The dangerous dog, when taken outside the enclosure, must be securely muzzled in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog nor interfere with its vision or respiration, but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal; and the dangerous dog must be restrained by a sturdy leash six (6) feet in length. The department is authorized to charge the dog owner a fee to cover the cost of this leash;

(6)The owner shall post a sign on his premises warning that there is a dangerous dog on the property. This sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the public street or highway. In addition, the department shall design and produce a uniform dangerous dog symbol or decal, understandable by small children which shall be made available at cost to the public. Such symbol or decal must be displayed on or about the sign;

(7)The owner shall authorize the department to implant a microchip beneath the skin of the dangerous dog for positive identification of the animal;

(8)The dangerous dog must be spayed or neutered;

(9)The owner must attend a class on responsible pet ownership conducted by the department; and

(10)The owner must allow an annual inspection of the residence where the dog is kept to ensure continued compliance with all requirements of this section. More frequent inspections may be conducted in response to specific complaints regarding non-compliance with this section.

(b)If the owner of a dog determined to be dangerous is unable or unwilling to comply with the ownership requirements listed above at anytime, the dog must be euthanized by an animal shelter, animal care agency, licensed veterinarian or the department. A dog determined to be dangerous under this chapter shall not be offered for adoption, rescue or sale.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10; Ord. No. 2011-10-20-0863, § 2, 10-20-11)

Editor’s note—

Ord. No. 2011-10-20-0863, § 2, adopted October 20, 2011, changed the title of section 5-80 from “Requirements of dangerous animal owners” to “Requirements of dangerous dog owners.” The historical notation has been preserved for reference purposes.

Sec. 5-81. – Notification of change of status.

The owner/keeper of a dangerous dog shall notify the director or his designee within twenty-four (24) hours if their dangerous dog is loose, unconfined, has attacked another animal, has attacked a person, or has died. If an owner/keeper of a dangerous dog gives the dangerous dog away, the owner/keeper shall within twenty-four (24) hours notify the director or his designee that said dog has been given away and provide the director or his designee the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner/keeper. Prior to taking possession of the dog, the new owner/keeper must comply with the requirements of owners of dangerous dogs and provide a sworn statement to the director or his designee that they will continue to comply with all of the requirements of owners of dangerous dogs for as long as the owner/keeper has possession of the dog.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10; Ord. No. 2011-10-20-0863, § 2, 10-20-11)

Sec. 5-82. – Dangerous dog violations.

(a)A person commits an offense under state law, pursuant to the Texas Health and Safety Code, if the person is the owner of a dangerous dog and the dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person outside the dog’s enclosure and causes bodily injury to the other person.

(b)It shall be a violation of this chapter for an owner or keeper to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly fail to prevent a dangerous dog, from killing or wounding, or assisting in the killing or wounding of any domestic animal belonging to or in the possession of another person, or for an owner or keeper to fail to prevent a dangerous dog from attacking, assaulting, biting or otherwise injuring any person or assisting in the attack, assault, biting, or other injury of any person whether out of or within the enclosure of the owner or keeper, and whether or not such dangerous dog was on a leash or securely muzzled or whether or not the dangerous dog escaped without the knowledge or consent of the owner or keeper. If a person is found guilty of an offense under this section, the court may order the dangerous dog destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.

(c)It shall be a violation of this chapter for the owner or keeper of a dangerous dog to:

(1)Fail to comply with any of the requirements of section 5-80 as required;

(2)Fail to notify the department of a change of status as set out in section 5-81; or

(3)Fail to keep the dog confined at no cost to the city during the hearing process.

(d)The provisions under this section shall not apply to any law enforcement agency where a dog is being used for law enforcement.

(e)A rebuttable presumption shall exist that the owner or keeper knowingly allowed a dangerous dog to be kept in inadequate confinement in any criminal complaint filed under subsection (b).

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10; Ord. No. 2011-10-20-0863, § 2, 10-20-11)

Editor’s note—

Ord. No. 2011-10-20-0863, § 2, adopted October 20, 2011, changed the title of section 5-82 from “Dangerous animal violations” to “Dangerous dog violations.” The historical notation has been preserved for reference purposes.

Sec. 5-83. – Aggressive dogs; levels defined.

Classification of a dog as aggressive shall be based upon specific behaviors exhibited by the dog. For purposes of this chapter, behaviors establishing various levels of aggressive dogs are the following:

(1)Level 1 behavior is established if:

a.A dog while in the enclosure in which the animal was being kept and acts to cause a person to reasonably believe that the animal will attack and cause bodily injury to that person; or

b.A dog at large is found to menace, chase, display threatening or aggressive behavior or otherwise threaten or endanger the safety of a domestic animal.

(2)Level 2 behavior is established if a dog, while at large, causes physical injury to any domestic animal or livestock.

(3)Level 3 behavior is established if:

a.A dog, while at large, kills or causes the death of any domestic animal or livestock; or

b.A dog classified as a level 2 aggressive dog that repeats the behavior in subsection (2) after the owner or keeper receives notice of the level 2 classification.

(4)Notwithstanding subsections (1), (2), and (3), the director shall have discretionary authority to refrain from classifying a dog as aggressive, even if the dog has engaged in the behaviors specified in subsections (1), (2), and (3), if the director determines that the behavior was the result of the victim abusing or tormenting the dog or was directed towards a trespasser or other similar mitigating or extenuating circumstances.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-84. – Aggressive dogs; appeals; restrictions pending appeal.

(a)The director shall have authority to determine whether any dog has engaged in the behaviors specified in section 5-83. This determination may be based upon an investigation that includes observation of and testimony about the dog’s behavior, including the dog’s upbringing and the owner’s or keeper’s control of the dog, and other relevant evidence as determined by the director. These observations and testimony can be provided by animal care officers or by other witnesses who personally observed the behavior. They shall sign an affidavit attesting to the observed behavior and agree to provide testimony regarding the dog’s behavior if necessary.

(b)The director shall have the discretion to increase or decrease a classified dog’s restrictions based upon relevant circumstances.

(c)The director shall give the dog’s owner or keeper written notice by certified mail or personal service of the dog’s specified behavior, of the dog’s classification as aggressive, and of the restrictions applicable to that dog by reason of its classification. If the owner or keeper denies that the behavior in question occurred, the owner or keeper may appeal the director’s decision to the animal determination hearing officer.

(d)Upon receipt of notice of the dog’s classification as a level 1, 2, or 3 aggressive dog pursuant to subsection (c), the owner or keeper shall comply with the restrictions specified in the notice unless reversed on appeal. Failure to comply with the specified restrictions shall be a violation of this chapter for which a fine can be imposed. Additionally, the director shall have authority to impound the dog pending completion of all appeals.

(e)If the director’s decision or the animal determination hearing officer’s decision finds that a dog has engaged in aggressive behavior, the dog may be impounded pending the completion of any appeals.

(f)Any dog classified as a level 3, that is found to have repeated level 3 behavior as defined under this code, shall be impounded if not already impounded. The dog shall not be released to the owner or be made available for adoption until either potential recipient of the dog has established arrangements for accommodating the animal consistent with all the security and safety requirements ordered by the director or the animal determination hearing officer.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-85. – Aggressive dogs hearings; notice of hearings; appeal.

(a)Notice of appeal of a classification of aggressive dog must be given to the director within fifteen (15) working days of the date the dog is classified as aggressive by the director. The director or his designee shall set an aggressive animal hearing. The owner shall be notified of said hearing by certified mail, return receipt requested. Failure of the owner of the animal to appear at the hearing shall result in a final classification with no further appeal. The owner may be represented by counsel.

(b)The animal determination hearing officer shall determine whether, by a preponderance of the evidence, the animal is aggressive as defined in this chapter based upon evidence, affidavits, and testimony presented at the time of the hearing by the owner, witnesses to any incident which may be germane to such a determination, department personnel, police or any other person possessing information pertinent to such determination. The owner may cross examine witnesses. A record of the hearing shall be kept. The animal determination hearing officer shall issue written factual findings and a determination as to whether the dog is aggressive within five (5) working days after the hearing. The owner shall be notified of the animal determination hearing officer’s findings and determination by certified mail, return receipt requested.

(c)The owner of the dog determined to be aggressive by the animal determination hearing officer has the right to appeal the determination to municipal court by submitting written notice to the director within five (5) working days of receiving the animal determination hearing officer’s determination. Failure to appeal within the time allotted shall result in the animal determination hearing officer’s determination as final.

(d)A municipal court judge shall sit as the administrative appeal hearing officer. The administrative appeal hearing officer shall apply a pure substantial evidence review of the aggressive dog hearing. The administrative appeal hearing officer shall consider only the factual record made at the aggressive dog hearing and decide if the determination of the animal determination hearing officer is reasonably supported by substantial evidence. In addition, the administrative appeal hearing officer is permitted to consider whether the aggressive dog hearing satisfied the requirements of due process. The administrative appeal hearing officer shall prepare a written memorandum of findings and declare the animal determination hearing officer’s determination either affirmed or reversed.

(e)The result of the administrative appeal hearing is final.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-86. – Regulation of aggressive dogs.

In addition to the other requirements of this chapter, the owner or keeper of an aggressive dog shall comply with the following conditions:

(1)Dogs classified as level 1 dogs shall be restrained, so as not to be at large, by a physical device or structure, in a manner that prevents the dog from reaching any public sidewalk, or adjoining property and must be located so as not to interfere with the public’s legal access to the owner’s or keeper’s premises whenever that dog is outside the owner’s or keeper’s home and not on a leash. The director may order sterilization of the animal.

(2)Dogs classified as level 2 dogs shall be confined within a secure enclosure whenever the dog is not on a leash. The secure enclosure must be located so as not to interfere with the public’s legal access to the owner’s or keeper’s premises. In addition, the director may require the owner or keeper to obtain and maintain proof of public liability insurance in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00). In addition, the owner or keeper may be required to complete a responsible pet ownership program as prescribed by the director or the animal determination hearing officer. The director may order sterilization of the animal.

(3)Dogs classified as level 3 dogs shall be confined within a secure enclosure whenever the dog is not on a leash. The secure enclosure must be located so as not to interfere with the public’s legal access to the owner’s or keeper’s premises, and the owner or keeper shall post warning signs, which are provided by the director, on the premises where the dog is kept, in conformance with rules to be adopted by the director. In addition, the director may require the owner or keeper to obtain and maintain proof of public liability insurance in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00). The owner or keeper shall not permit the dog to be off the owner’s or keeper’s premises unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by an adequate leash and under the control of a capable person. In addition, the director may require the owner or keeper to satisfactorily complete a pet ownership program. The director may order sterilization of the animal.

(4)To insure correct identification, all dogs that have been classified as aggressive shall be microchipped and photographed, and may be fitted with a special tag or collar determined by the director at the owner’s expense. The director shall adopt rules specifying the type of required identification.

(5)The animal must be licensed in accordance with this chapter and shall have a higher licensing fee;

(6)The owner or keeper of a level 3 aggressive dog shall not permit the warning sign to be removed from the secure enclosure. The owner or keeper of any aggressive dog shall not permit the special tag or collar to be removed from the dog. The owner or keeper of an aggressive dog shall not permit the dog to be moved to a new address or change owners or keepers without providing the director with ten (10) days’ prior written notification.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-87. – Declassification of aggressive dogs.

Declassification will be automatic pursuant to this section.

(1)The following conditions must be met:

a.Level 1 or level 2 dogs have been classified for one (1) year without further incident, and two (2) years for level 3 dogs;

b.There have been no violations of the specified regulations; and

c.If ordered by the director or hearings officer at the time of classification:

1.The owner or keeper provides the director with written certification of satisfactory completion of obedience training for the aggressive dog with the owner or keeper, and

2.The owner or keeper to provides the director with written verification that the classified dog has been sterilized from a licensed veterinarian.

(2)When the owner or keeper of an aggressive dog meets all of the conditions in this chapter, the restrictions for level 1 and level 2 classified dogs may be removed. Restrictions for level 3 may be removed, with the exception of the secure enclosure.

 

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Click here for various San Antonio Dog Laws

Click here for basic San Antonio Animal Law information

The Agency in charge of enforcing Dog Law in San Antonio: ASC

 

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  1. Dog Laws | Cook & Cook Law Firm, PLLC - [...] “animals”, you will find about 7 subtopics. In an earlier article, we disused the dangerous dog laws.  In this…

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