Dogs that meet the following criteria may be declared dangerous:
- A dog that makes an unprovoked attack on a person that occurred in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept, or
- A dog that commits an unprovoked act in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that act would cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury.
A person may report an incident which indicates a dog is dangerous as defined above. Requests for a dangerous dog declaration are filed at the local Justice of the Peace court by the individual. The court will notify the owner and Veterinary Public Health. Declaring a dog dangerous in Harris County is done by a duly elected Justice of the Peace.
The Process of Declaring a Dog Dangerous:
- Step 1 – Person goes to their Justice of the Peace court and fills out the paperwork to begin the process. The paperwork will ask for the persons information, description of the dog, dog’s owner (name and address), and a description of the incident that led that person to believe the dog is dangerous.
- Step 2 – Justice of the Peace court gives owner notice of the complaint. The owner has 5 days to deliver the animal to HCPHES Veterinary Public Health were it will be held until the legal process is completed.
- Step 3 – Justice of the Peace court sets a hearing not later than the 10th day after the dog is delivers to Veterinary Public Health. Owner and complainant are notified.
- Step 4 – Hearing is held and Judge determines if dog is dangerous according to definition.
- Step 5 – If the declaration of dangerous is made, the owner has 30 days to comply with the requirements for keeping a dangerous dog, which includes liability insurance and a secure enclosure inspected by Veterinary Public Health.
If the dog is not declared dangerous it is released back to the owner.
Harris County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 5, Place 2
Judge Bill Yeoman
16715 Clay Road, #4
Houston, Texas 77084