Animal Welfare

City Releases Full Report in Dog-Mauling Death

In an extensive report released Friday afternoon, the city of Dallas detailed the lapses in enforcement and communication that led to the dog-mauling death of Antoinette Brown on May 2. In memo to the Dallas City Council, Assistant City Manager Joey Zapata wrote that Dallas Police and Dallas Animal Services made a total of 12 calls to a house at 3307 Spring Ave., where the dogs that attacked Brown were thought to live. Dogs were surrendered and citations were issued, but the house continued to be a problem up to and after Brown's fatal encounter.

The first 911 call reporting Brown's attack, according to the city, came in at 4:42 a.m. May 2. The caller, who lives on Rutledge Avenue near the vacant lot on which the attack occurred, told police a woman was begging for help. Eight minutes later, Dallas Police Department officers were the first city personnel to arrive to help Brown. By 5:10, she was on the way to Baylor Hospital. Brown arrived at the hospital at 5:17, but died of her injuries a week later.

Early in the morning hours of May 4, as police searched for the dogs after a man near the site of Brown's attack reported being chased by the same group of animals, an officer recounted what he'd seen the night of the attack to a 311 operator.

"Well, these dogs, I don’t know if you heard about this but, about two nights ago, the night that it
was raining, they attacked a lady and literally they almost killed her. And the bicep was missing, chunks,
and I’m going uh, I’ve seen a lot of dog bites, but these … I’ve never seen anything like this. She looked
like she was attacked by a shark. There’s chunks of meat that were off. I mean like her left leg, we had
her, she had to be transported to Baylor Hospital and she was in a state of shock. I … [unintelligible] I
don’t even know if she made it. This, this is the type that’s that bad," he said.

That night, three dogs matching the description of the animals that attacked Brown chased a man through the neighborhood. When police arrived, they couldn't find the dogs, so DAS was not called. Later that afternoon someone called 311 to report that they believe the dogs that attacked Brown were being hidden inside the house at 3307 Spring Ave.

The next day, DAS found eight dogs at the property. Six of those dogs were impounded — one was left at the house because it didn't match the description of the attacking dogs and another escaped. The  runaway was picked up May 9. 

Through May 31, Zapata told the council that animal services impounded 17 additional dogs and issued 26 citations around the area in which Brown was attacked.

The city has embedded Dallas police with Dallas Animal Service workers to improve coordination between the agencies. Zapata's report also suggest that increased DAS overnight staffing could also be an effective way to fight dog attacks in southern Dallas. 
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young