Two high profile arrests in one week are sending a clear message to pet owners in Dallas: Properly confine your dogs or you may be held criminally responsible for their actions.
On August 12th, Dallas Police arrested Alicia Hernandez on a 3rd degree Felony charge. On August 6th, her dog ran out of her gate and attacked a woman walking nearby causing serious bodily injury. That attack came less than one month after a July 9th incident in which the same dog jumped a fence and attacked a woman working on a home down the street. Dallas Animal Services had seized and quarantined the dog for ten days after the July attack. The dog was returned to Ms. Hernandez after the quarantine period expired.
Yesterday, Dallas Police announced the arrest of Luz Alvarez, also on a 3rd degree Felony charge. That arrest stemmed from a May 30th incident in which Ms. Alvarez’ dog escaped its enclosure and attacked a thirteen year-old boy, causing seriously bodily injury. The same dog had bitten another person in March 2016 and was quarantined by Dallas Animal Services as required by law. The animal was returned to Ms. Alvarez after the quarantine period expired.
In both cases, DPD worked with closely with Dallas Animal Services. This recent cross-departmental collaboration between previously siloed organizations – Dallas Animal Services, a division of Code Compliance, and Dallas Police Department, operating under the umbrella of Public Safety, is now setting a precedent that pet owners will be held criminally responsible when their pets cause bodily harm because they are not properly confined.
A 3rd degree Felony is a crime that carries a penalty of 2 to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
Read more about these recent arrests: