The owner of three dogs that attacked a north Austin man last week will be allowed to keep his pets. The lack of formal charges does not mean officials with Austin Animal Services are not going to hold the owner accountable.
There's new fencing around a house at the corner of Payton Gin Rd. and Pointer Lane. It not only provides extra security for those living there but also for the neighbors, like Collis Manning.
"Yeah they did that yesterday or the day before,” said Manning who added, “Little bit too little too late."
According to Manning, three dogs got out from the corner house Thursday night, came down the street and attacked his roommate.
"And I opened the door and he backed in and I got a bat and came out and started swinging it and they took off,” said Manning.
Leonard Thomas owns the dogs and told FOX 7 it was a case of mistaken identity.
"He looked like the owner of this house, he feeds them and plays with them every day."
At his doorway, a bounding pit bull and her not so small 1 year old pup, came up to greet us. There were several barks but no biting.
"So when they spotted him (the neighbor) they went straight to him and jumped up on him just like she did to you, they're not going to bite nobody,” said Thomas.
The injury, according to Thomas, was a scratch that was made by the dog’s paw. But the cut on his face and slash across his neck, according to Willie England, tell a different story
"No, they were trying to bite me."
England said he threw punches to beat the dogs back but one was able to lunge toward his face.
"And I turned just as he tried to grab me, and hit it and knocked it back, no, it was tooth it was teeth that got a hold of me,” said England.
Police were called to the scene but no charges were filed at the time. The dog that left its mark on England was taken by animal control and put in quarantine. Leonard Thomas will be allowed to get it back and keep the other dogs but there are still consequences.
Metal tags classifying the dogs as dangerous will be issued to each one pending a court review. The designation will also require more than fence mending. Dangerous dogs are placed on a registration list. Liability insurance of at least $100,000 must also be purchased by the pet owner.
"And we monitor those sanctions and in the event the owner does not we would at that time move forward with the seizure of the animal, and that’s when a judge will determine whether or not what we should do with the animal, placement elsewhere or euthanasia,” said Animal Services Deputy Chief Chris Noble.
A second biting incident - after a dog is classified as dangerous brings a criminal charge and a fine up to $10,000. The dog can also be put down. England was asked if he thought the dog that bit him should be put down.
“I can’t, I’m not going to make that decision you know ... (but) they don’t need to be in that neighborhood because there are too many kids that walk in that neighborhood and there is no way that guy can guarantee that those dogs are not going to get out again,” said England.