ACS offers tips to combat vicious dogs after couple sentenced in dog attack

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Animal Care Services is providing tips on how people can prevent dog attacks after a couple was sentenced in a dog attack that left a 72-year-old woman without her arm.

ACS said it starts with stopping irresponsible pet owners.

The law requires owners to keep dog restrained at all times on a leash or secured in a back yard.

ACS Director Heber Lefgren says that’s the single thing owners can do to ensure safety for pets and people.

RELATED: Animal Care Services says it rescued 12,688 animals in SA in 2017 

“The issue all boils down to the dog not being restrained that’s the biggest thing anyone can do to prevent accidents from happening,” he said.

The agency has a $14.7 million budget with 37 officers on staff. Lefgren says there are plenty of laws in place to protect the public, the problem is the dog owners who chose to ignore them or don’t know the law.

Fines associated with breaking the law range from $300 to $1,000. More serious cases could result in prison time for the owner and the dog to be euthanized.

In 2017, ACS filed 36 dangerous dog cases. There were 15 serious bodily injury cases involving dog bites that required hospitalization.

In the 2018 fiscal year that started in October, there have been 23 dangerous dog cases filed, nine cases resulted in bites that sent the victim to the hospital.

 

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Manuel Flores oversees the dangerous dog and bite investigations unit. He says the agency has stepped up its efforts to educate the public on what it takes to get a dangerous dog off the streets and its owner to comply.

“A lot of cases, if we don’t have that victim or witness, the owner has the opportunity to appeal the decision and go to court,” he explained “So if we don’t have a person to testify that has firsthand knowledge of the incident, then our case gets slim as far as keeping that dog under restrictions.”

People who call 311 to report a dog with the potential to attack must be ready to sign an affidavit. Flores thinks sometimes the victims are relatives or neighbors who are afraid to come forward and sign a complaint.

“If you know your dog is aggressive, is not friendly with strangers or kids or other animals, that should let you know as a pet owner to take extra precautions to ensure your pet doesn’t get loose,” Flores said. “If you know your family is coming over, put your dog in a kennel. Keep it locked, away from everyone.”

Dog insurance is also available through some insurance companies.


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