Animal Welfare

Family of Antoinette Brown Demands $5 Million from City of Dallas

The family of Antoinette Brown, the woman mauled and killed by a pack of loose dogs in South Dallas earlier this month, is demanding $5 million from the city of Dallas in order for the city to avoid a lawsuit, interim City Attorney Chris Bowers said Thursday. Bowers told the city's animal commission that he does not believe the city is liable for Brown's death or the more than 100 dog bites she received.

“Ms. Brown’s death was very tragic, very unfortunate, very regrettable and very sad,” Bowers told the commission, “[But] we do not believe the city has any liability here.”

The dogs that killed Brown have been confiscated by Dallas Animal Services. They belonged to a resident living near the vacant lot in the 3300 block of Rutledge Avenue where Brown died. DAS had previously paid multiple visits to the address, confiscating 10 dogs in 2014.

Thursday's meeting was the first for the commission since Brown's death on May 2. The commission heard about a plan by city staff, which leaked earlier this week, to hire the Boston Consulting Group to do a comprehensive, 11-week study on what the city should do about the continuing loose-dog problem in southern Dallas.

While the commission acknowledged the need for the type of change in direction the study could spur in DAS, multiple members went after city staff for the fact that the city has actually picked up 12 percent fewer dogs in 2016 compared with same stretch of 2015.

"Why aren't we picking up more dogs?" the commission's chair, Peter Broadsky, asked Assistant City Manager Joey Zapata to a round of applause from the audience.

Broadsky called picking up loose dogs the "finger in the dam" that can keep southern Dallas residents from fearing for their safety until the city can do something more comprehensive. Commission member Jean-Paul Bonnelly suggested that nothing would work until the city makes spaying or neutering mandatory for all dogs.

“We can go and sweep and kill every dog on the streets of Dallas but in six months or a year we’re going to have the same damn problem that we have today. It doesn’t work,” he said.

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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