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DECLARING A DOG AS DANGEROUS
The State of Texas Health and Safety Code defines a Dangerous Dog as one that either:
- Makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own, or;
- Commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person.
HOW TO REQUEST A DANGEROUS DOG DECLARATIONChapter 6 of the City of Houston Code of Ordinances addresses the process for dangerous dog declarations. The steps are detailed below:
- To begin the process, a person must make a complaint to BARC, in the form of a sworn statement, that a dog (or dogs) living within the city limits is dangerous. Please complete the affidavit at https://www.houstontx.gov/barc/pdfs/Dangerous_Dog_Affidavit.pdf
- Upon receipt of the complaint, BARC will review the sworn statement. If the actions of the dog meet the requirements of the State definition of a Dangerous Dog, BARC will open a formal investigation of the case.
- For the investigation, the complainant should provide as much information as possible, including but not limited to: owner information, accurate description of the dog, address where the dog is kept, witness testimony, photographs of bodily injuries caused by the animal, medical reports related to the injuries, and any other information the complainant can make available to BARC to assist us in the investigation.
Upon completion of our investigation, if BARC determines that sufficient grounds exist to declare a dog dangerous, BARC will issue a written order to the dog owner.
IF THE DOG IS DETERMINED TO BE DANGEROUS OR TO HAVE CAUSED SERIOUS BODILY INJURY
- If, after the investigation, the dog is believed to have caused serious bodily injury to a person as defined in the Texas Health and Safety Code 822.001(2), a hearing will be scheduled in Municipal Court to decide whether the dog did in fact cause serious injury and if so, decide the disposition of the dog.
- If, after the investigation, the dog is found to be a dangerous dog but did not do serious injury, the owner of the dog will be notified of the decision by hand delivery and/or certified mail; and ordered to surrender the dog to BARC until all dangerous dog requirements have been met.
- The owner will have 30 calendar days to comply with the restrictions in Chapter 6, Article VI, Section 154 for keeping a dangerous dog.
- The owner may appeal the dangerous dog determination to Municipal court or another court of competent jurisdiction. The appeal must be made within 15 calendar days of the date the owner was notified of the determination. After 15 days the determination is final.
IF THE DOG IS NOT FOUND TO BE DANGEROUS
- The complainant may choose to file a report of the incident(s) to a local Justice of the Peace court of competent jurisdiction in order to pursue the declaration in that court. Information for filing in Justice Court may be found on county website in which the court is located.
Sworn Statements may be mailed to:
3200 Carr Street, Houston, 77026
Attn. Animal Control.
Please contact BARC through 311 for questions and assistance.