No change has been made to the current city ordinance on the chaining of animals. Under the current ordinance, animals can be chained up for no more than three hours each day. In addition, they cannot be chained up between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. Due to the mixed reaction of city council members, the ordinance did not get changed. Lou Kreidler, of the Wichita County Health Department, stated that there just wasn’t an overwhelming response for changing it. There were three options available.
- Keep the current ordinance.
- Ban the chaining of animals outside at any time.
- Revise the ordinance to allow chaining when the owner is in the presence of the animal.
Why is this decision important?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 800,000 Americans seek medical attention each year for dog bites. In addition, children between the ages of five and nine are most likely to sustain a bite. The CDC also found that dogs most likely to bite are male, unneutered and chained up. In fact, their study entitled “Which Dogs Bite?” reported that dogs on chains are 2.8 times more likely to bite than others. The American Veterinary Medical Association issued a press release in May of 2003 for Dog Bite Prevention Week. The following is an excerpt from their press release regarding chained dogs: “Never tether or chain your dog because this can contribute to aggressive behavior.”
This decision comes on the heels of a case in Atlanta where a five-year-old girl was mauled by a dog. Citizens should remember that Wichita Falls has a strict liability statute for dog bites. This means that the owner of the dog can be held liable if their dog bites or injures someone. This also means that the dog does not need to have a history of aggression. There is no “one-bite-free” rule in Wichita Falls. In addition, the City Health District has the ability to label a dog aggressive based on previously demonstrated behavior.
Ultimately, the victims of dog bites often sustain some level of tissue damage. Children, who are very often bit in the face and neck regions typically have to undergo multiple surgical procedures. If you or your child has been attacked by a dog you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. An attorney can ensure your legal rights are protected during this difficult time.