Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Why is the New Dog Tethering Ordinance Not Being Enforced?

Long history with my neighbor and his dog(s). I used to feed his dog when he was out of town, I used to go over and let our dogs play together until I started asking my neighbor too many questions about repairing his deck so that his dog would not get hung up in the decking with the chain around his neck which prevented him from standing. I would come home, the dog would be squealing and crying due to his chain being caught in decking. It has gotten worse over the past couple of years, now the dog is much older, has lost lots of weight, has hurt hips and leg, probably from getting kicked when roaming the neighborhood during the few moments he has been off the chain. The dog climbs the chain link fence probably to get out of his depressed & lonely environment just about every time his gets loose from his enslavement. Finally, we get a City Ordinance on the books and below is the story what good the law does!

Dear Mayor Moncrief -

Once again, I am asking you (and the Council), as the City's Leader(s), the one(s) responsible for making sure that the laws of this City are enforced, making sure that all of the Departments in our City Government function properly, efficiently and effectively. Yes there are many "Directors, Assistant Directors, Managers, Assistant Managers, Supervisors, Captains, Lieutenants" and so on, between you and the taxpayers. However, each of you signed up for the responsibility (and the "fringe benefits/perks") of making sure that the laws and/or City Ordinances are upheld and enforced. Last night the following happened:

Police call #F080852048 was called in about 6pm about an unattended dog chained to a stationary object which according to the New Ordinance that many of you and us spent valuable time (taxpayer paid and personal volunteer time!) helping to create and get on the books.

The Ordinance reads as follows:

"That Section 6- 13 “Restraint of Animals” of Chapter 6 of the Code of the City of Fort Worth, Texas, is hereby amended to amend subsection (d) and to add new subsections (e), (f), (g), and (h) to read as follows:

(d) It shall be unlawful for a person to use a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or other device to attach a dog to a stationary object or trolley system.

(e) It is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (d) that the dog tethering:

(1) is during a lawful animal event, veterinary treatment, grooming, training, or law enforcement activity;

(2) is required to protect the safety or welfare of a person or the dog, and the dog's owner maintains direct physical control of the dog;

(3) occurs in the direct physical control of the owner in a designated City dog park; or

(4) occurs on the owner’s premises and:
a. while the dog is within the owner’s direct physical control; and
b. prevents the dog from advancing to within fifteen (15) feet of the edge of any public street.

2 Police cars come out to the scene - they walk with owner to his backyard where dog is chained. Owner let's dog off chain and they visit about the dog.

3 police officers walk directly over to my house and talk to me. Officer Reyes (#3717) is the Officer who talks most. He says that "the dog had food and water, the dog appears to be in good health." I asked how he arrived at the "good health" statement. Officer Reyes stated, "Well, there were no flies around." I also stated that I made the call because the owner of the dog was in violation of a City Ordinance -- the fact that the dog had food and water was not the issue -- the tethering law says nothing about food and water, that is a separate law -- it is about tethering a dog to a stationary object! HELLO!!

Long story short, once again, the Police Officers in this City, time and time again on a variety of subjects, have no idea what the City Ordinances are, how they are to be enforced, what they mean, why they are created, etc. The owner of this dog was not given a written ticket. Why? The owner of this dog was not given any time frame inwhich to provide a proper safe, contained environment for his dog. Why? The owner of the dog was not asked to show proof of any shot records for his dog. Why?

"(g) A person commits an offense if the person fails to comply with this Section.

(1) An offense under this Section is a Class C misdemeanor. If a person fails to comply with this section with respect to more than one dog, the person's conduct with respect to each dog constitutes a separate offense.

(2) An offense under this Section is punishable by a fine not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000.00)."

Before leaving the other Officer, (Hines) asked why I didn't call 5 days ago if I noticed dog on chain then. What difference did it make, I called now and the Officers still didn't do their job. However, I learned that Officer Hines was trying to make a point that this was a "person conflict" between me and my neighbor and therefore the Officers were "off the hook" for not doing their job. Yes, it is a conflict over the proper and lawful care of a dog which this City, supposedly, is taking care of by creating laws and making sure that the laws are enforced.

This a matter of abuse of a dog and my quality of life. This dog has been on a chain its' entire life and I can't enjoy my backyard due to this poor abused, flea infested, malnourished chained dog crying because his owner won't come outside and let him off the chain and show him some love! It is more than sickening, disgusting, bothering and abusive. It is inhumane and cruel!

Furthermore, if my neighbor would have harmed or killed me last night after the police left, I can assure you that I, or my family, would be filing a lawsuit against the City of Ft. Worth for allowing our Police Officers to expose the identity of the complainant to the offender before a suit has been filed. This also has happened time and time again in various situations in dealing with Class C Offenders at my business and now at my home.

Again, last night I got to witness and experience a complete waste of tax dollars being spent in the City of Fort Worth! As I have said before, this City definitely needs a new Police Chief, one that knows how to maintain an effective force all the way down through the enforcement of Class C Misdemeanor Offenses. Do we also need a New Mayor and new slate of City Council Members before this City will run efficiently, effectively and progressively?

Seriously. What I see time and time again is absolutely ridiculous, out of control, irresponsible, waste of tax dollars in our City Government on a variety of issues.

Disappointed with All Involved,

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