Mother Fears for Child’s Safety after Run-in w/ Dogs
HARLINGEN – A Harlingen mother is asking the city for help after her daughter and her were surrounded by a pack of dogs at a bus stop.
Edna Torres said she went to pick up her daughter from the bus stop on Wednesday.
“In the beginning, we didn’t have to walk with her but I noticed the dogs will come out,” she said.
Torres said within seconds they were surrounded by barking dogs.
“She almost got attacked and I because I went walking with her because the dogs are mean,” she said. “We were nervous ourselves because it was scary because the dogs were just there, maybe a foot away.”
Ramiro Gonzalez with Harlingen Environmental Health said the owners of the dogs aren’t first time offenders.
“Well there’s a lot of dogs everywhere from the corner to the other side of the corner, there’s dogs everywhere,” he said.
Dog owners are violating a city ordinance that could lead them to a court room.
“They do have to appear at the municipal court. There are fines assessed. What those fines are, that’s up to the municipal court,” Senior Animal Control Officer Shannon Harvill said.
She said if people don’t read the fine print, they could get cited for a technicality.
“They have to be contained on the property whether that’s with the fence, whether that’s being tied with her being on a leash. They have to be contained to property. Even if they’re loose on the property, technically that is a violation,” she said.
Harvill said people could be fined for every day they’re in violation of the dog ordinance. An animal owner can receive a citation for each day that the violation exists.
After a dog owner’s third citation, the fees could be near $400.
“Citizens also have the option to take a picture of the violation, such as the dog running loose, and sign a complaint and with the citizen’s sign complaint, we can also issue a citation to court,” Harvill explained.
Torres said she shouldn’t have to be afraid to step out of her front door.
Harvill said they will keep monitoring the dog owners and the situation to make sure the family feels safe.
The city of Harlingen has recently added a new ordinance that went into effect on Jan. 1.
All dogs or cats in the corporate city limits must have a microchip. Microchipping the pets will allow them to be properly returned if they are picked up by animal control or lost.
If someone’s dog or cat is impounded, it shall have a microchip inserted between its shoulder blades before released to its owners.
The owner will be responsible for the fee of inserting the microchip. It could cost the owner nearly $200.
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