On the heels of two dog attacks in as many months, the Kyle City Council voted last week to form a committee to revise and update the city’s ordinance regarding dangerous dogs.
Mayor Pro Tem Dex Ellision and Council member Daphne Tenorio will both be a part of the committee, which also may include residents whose lives have been affected by dangerous dogs, it was decided in the Sept. 24 special called council meeting.
One such resident is Shonte Gordon, whose poodle-terrier mix CJ was killed in July by three pit bulls who broke through a fence in her Kensington Trails neighborhood.
Animal Control officers took a report but instead of taking the dogs to the shelter to be quarantined, they allowed the owners to keep the dogs at home.
“I do not feel safe in my home. I do not feel safe in my community. I fear for the safety of children and the elderly in Kensington Trail,” Gordon said.
Gordon said she and her family moved into their new home in July and the dog attack happened just three days later. She said her 13-year-old son was in the back yard with CJ when the neighbor’s dogs came through the fence. “My son ran back into the house before the dogs could attack him,” she said. “Unfortunately he could not save CJ.”
Since that happened, Gordon said, she learned from a police report that there have been complaints filed about those dogs dating back to 2014. The last two complaints to come in regarding those dogs, she said, were filed in March and April of this year — the first one “a call from the neighborhood about dogs chewing through the fence and almost attacking the resident’s mother,” and the second about them running loose.
Dogs that killed another dog and bit a person in the Steeplechase neighborhood in August, Gordon said, had been complained about all the way back to 2013.
“The Kyle Police Department Animal Control has continuously allowed owners of dogs to be negligent. That has resulted in beloved pets being attacked and killed and personal injury to a Kyle citizen,” she said. “The lack of clear internal processes and procedures resulted in the approval of a dangerous dog to live in the city limits within a multi-home subdivision.”
She also referenced an attack in the Waterleaf subdivision in which a dog was killed and its owner seriously injured. Amy Jensen and her dog were attacked outside their home in the Waterleaf subdivision in June 2015. Gordon said the four dogs involved in that attack had been the subject of complaints for two years before the incident.
“Continual leniency is being given to negligent dog owners,” Gordon said, adding that animal control “needs to review processes and procedures, give stiffer citations and impoundment fees and a recommendation to a judge for the removal of dogs from negligent owners.”
She also reiterated her inability to understand why the animals that attacked her dog were allowed to remain with their owner, when in other cases the dogs had been quarantined at the animal shelter. “Was animal control not able to find three spots in the shelter in July for our case but were able to find two spots in August” for the dogs involved in the Steeplechase attack, she asked.
Moreover, Gordon said she and her husband were “not provided with any documentation” in the police report about the decision to allow the dogs to remain in the custody of the owner. She noted that the “local rabies authority” that decides where animals will be quarantined is animal control. “Can you say conflict of interest?”
Gordon also went down a “checklist of compliance” that the dogs’ owners were not held to.
“A dangerous dog is allowed to live right next door to us. I cannot accept it. I will continue to speak on this issue until things change … I do not feel safe.”
“I can’t fathom what you and your family have gone through,” Ellison said.
“Thank you for your courage to come forward,” Mayor Travis Mitchell said. “It’s clearly an area we need to be paying attention to … I can’t imagine how those dogs were allowed to stay there … We have a policy, a process that we follow and that’s what’s being done here right now.”
Council member Alex Villalobos said that when he learned of the attack on the Gordons’ dog, he passed the information along to the police department. “This is a serious issue. It’s disheartening we’re going forward at this time still addressing the same issue to ensure the safety of neighborhoods and people.”
Villalobos said he intends to speak to Police Chief Jeff Barnett about how the manner was handled.