SUMMARY: Adjust current ACS policies/procedures and resources made available to victims of domestic animal violence to prevent reoccuring animal violence incidents.
TO: Mayor and City Council
FROM: Councilman Dan Rossiter, District 7
COPIES TO: Erik Walsh, City Manager; Debbie Racca-Sitre, City Clerk; Andrew Segovia, City Attorney; John Peterek, Assistant to the City Manager; Emily McGinn, Assistant to City Council
SUBJECT: Protecting Victims of Domestic Animal Violence
DATE: May 6, 2023
Issue Proposed for Consideration
I ask for your support for the inclusion of the following item on the agenda of the earliest available meeting of the Governance Committee:
Request City staff bring recommendations to council for approval of policy and process that requires the Animal Care Services (ACS) department to provide information to a dog bite victim on how to trigger an investigation into an incident, and determine if the dog needs to be categorized as dangerous to ensure the public’s safety. The council should make it policy to inform and prepare an affidavit if requested by the victim and arrange for mobile notary services to assist in filing and reduce barriers to reporting. This information should be provided in writing within 24 hours of an incident and include the following:
- How to report a dog bite to the ACS department.
- What information is needed to initiate an investigation.
- What happens during an investigation.
- How ACS determines if a dog is dangerous.
- What happens if a dog is categorized as dangerous.
Dog attacks are a significant, potentially fatal, risk to the San Antonians. The City must take concrete actions to ensure repeat-offender households are identified and all legal actions within the City’s purview are taken to ensure these dogs are not allowed to terrorize the communities in which they live.
Currently, when a dog bite occurs, the Animal Care Services (ACS) department is responsible for conducting an investigation and determining if the dog is dangerous. However, victims of dog bites are often not aware of how to trigger an investigation or what to do if they believe the dog is dangerous.
By requiring the ACS department to provide this information to dog bite report victims and making it policy to inform and prepare an affidavit if requested by the victim and arrange for mobile notary services to assist in filing, the City can ensure that victims are made aware of their rights and the steps they can take to protect themselves and their neighbors. This will help improve public safety and reduce the risk of dangerous dogs in our community.
Submitted for Council Consideration by:
Councilman Dan Rossiter, District 7