Animal Welfare

Dallas Police Department Closes the Book on Dog Mauling Death

No one, it seems, will be charged with a crime in the South Dallas dog mauling death of Antoinette Brown. The Dallas Police Department announced Monday that there is no conclusive link between Brown and the seven dogs impounded near the Rutledge Street vacant lot on which Brown was killed in early May.

Dogs attacked Brown early on the morning of May 2, biting her more than 100 times. Brown died on Monday, May 9, spurring the city to address southern Dallas loose dog epidemic.

DNA evidence from the impounded dogs was sent to two labs, the Southwest Institute of Forensics Science and the University of California at Davis. Neither lab was able to match DNA from the dogs to DNA on Brown's body.

The dogs impounded after Brown's death had repeatedly escaped their yard on Spring Street in the year prior to Brown being attacked. Between 2013 and 2014, neighbors called Dallas Animal Services about the Spring Street house 10 times, leading to the confiscation of 10 dogs from the property. In 2015, three more dogs were confiscated from the house.

In August, DPD made its first ever felony dog attack arrest, picking up Alicia Hernandez, 64, after her pit bull attacked a 38-year-old woman on Rosewood Avenue near the Dallas North Tollway.
Rob Sherwin, the DPD assistant police chief assigned to head DAS as it attempts to stem the tide of the more than 8,000 loose dogs believed to be roaming the streets of southern Dallas, said at the time it was essential that dog owners knew they could be subject to both civil and criminal penalties if their dogs attacked someone.

"I think that the public demands that we take enforcement action against people who are not responsible pet owners," he said. "It's not just a civil action that you can be responsible for, it's a criminal one."

If a dog owner is charged with an attack made by their dog, they are subject to two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
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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