MIDLAND - To cut down on dangerous dog attacks, the Midland City Council approved the first reading of an amendment to the Dangerous Dog City Code, making the punishment for the owners as tough as possible.
"The ordinance amendment would increase the amount of liability insurance from $250,000 to $1 million," City of Midland Director of Animal Services, Paul O'Neill, said.
A million-dollar liability insurance policy would have to be bought in order to keep the dog.
Charges to keep the dog at the Midland Animal Shelter during its 10-day quarantine are also increased and add that to court fees.
Officials said if a dog attacks someone enough to be dangerous, they want to make it nearly impossible for them to get the dog back.
"The vicious ones, where there's serious injury, those are the ones we look heavily at filing," O'Neill said. "The dog comes out and bites them multiples times, two, three, four times, knocks them down, that to me is a dangerous dog."
Midlander Leslie Hahn spoke in support of the increase at the City Council meeting after her granddaughter was attacked by a dog years ago, when she was just two-and-a-half years old.
"She turned around to run, to get away from the dog, and the dog chased her, knocked her down, got on top of her, and then just, just chewed on her," Hahn said.
Harley was playing in the front yard of her home in Midland when a dog squeezed through the spaces in the fence and attacked her.
Now, seven years later, Hahn said Harley still has scars on her body and her mind.
"She has scars in her hair lining where the hair won't grow back and she has scars under her arms, and not just that but mentally," she said. "She's afraid of dogs. She'll take that with her forever, I'm sure."
Hahn said the dog's owner was never found, and if that happens, the dog is euthanized.
Hahn said she is just happy that the dog did not test positive for Rabies and wants the City Council to push the increase through.
"I felt like it was very important that this amendment needed to be passed," she said. "I think that people need to understand that the dogs do get out. Children do not understand that these dogs are not friendly."
A concern that Tall City officials are now trying to echo.
The proposed change to the dangerous dog ordinance in Midland has to go through one more final reading by the Council on their August 23rd meeting before it's approved.
As for the City of Odessa, the owner has to take out a $100,000 liability insurance policy, and they have to have a dangerous animal tag that costs $50 a year.