City Executed 7 Dogs for Mauling Woman — Then DNA Evidence Proved They Didn’t Do It
November 3, 2016 | Carey Wedler
(ANTIMEDIA) Dallas, TX — Animal Services in Dallas, Texas, euthanized seven dogs after a Dallas woman was killed in a mauling earlier this year. But according to recent forensic DNA tests, the dogs the city executed were not responsible for the attack in question.
In May, 52-year-old Antoinette Brown was killed in a vicious dog attack that included several canines. Though it was unclear which dogs were responsible for the woman’s death, neighbors directed authorities toward a residence where pet dogs had reportedly escaped before.
Local outlet WFAA-News 8 reported:
“The residence had a long history of animal complaints, including the seizure of 10 dogs in 2014 and a report of an attack in progress the following year.
“The owner of seven dogs suspected in Brown’s death turned them over to Dallas Animal Services in the days following the attack. Police said in a bulletin those dogs were ‘held for a period of time and were processed for evidence.’”
WFAA reports Dallas Animal Services ultimately killed the dogs.
But on Monday of this week, police reported DNA analysis was unable to link the euthanized dogs to the woman who was killed. As WFAA explained:
“DNA samples collected from the dogs and sent to a forensics institute were negative for a match, police said Monday. A forensics lab at the University of California at Davis also concluded there was no link between the samples collected from the dogs and the DNA found in the attack of Antoinette Brown.”
According to the Texas Code of Ordinances, Section 7-5.1, a dog is deemed dangerous if, among other scenarios, it “makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept…”
In light of the possibility one of the owner’s dogs might have already earned this designation (one was reported in an “attack in progress” last year), the owner might have been entitled to a hearing, pursuant to Section 7-5.6 of the ordinances code.
According to the city government’s Public Information Officer, Richard Hill, no hearing took place because “no hearing was required.”
Considering DNA evidence only just became available this week – or, at least, was made public this week — it’s unclear how authorities would have determined the dogs were guilty prior to receiving the results.
Rather, Hill said the dogs were killed “after they were deemed to be unadoptable.” Interestingly, he made no mention of whether or not guilt or innocence was determined and said the dogs were not returned to the owner because the owner surrendered them to authorities (according to the dangerous dog ordinances, had they been found innocent, they would have been returned to the owner).
Hill is yet to respond to follow-up questions seeking clarification regarding the policy used to determine the dogs could be killed, but Anti-Media will update this story if he replies.
Regardless of whether or not the city was acting legally when it killed the seven dogs, it appears the government’s conduct failed to deliver adequate justice. The DNA evidence shows there was no link between the dogs, meaning at best, the animals were caught up in the city’s rules and regulations and lost their lives though they did not kill Brown.
Still, Matisha Ward, the victim’s daughter, doubted the accuracy of the negative DNA test results, arguing rainfall on the day of the attack could have tainted the samples. “The fact they can’t link DNA is frustrating, so frustrating, for the family,” she said. While this might be a possibility, the difficulties in determining which dogs killed Brown are compounded by the fact that Dallas has an ongoing problem with stray and loose dogs roaming the city. This has resulted in frequent attacks on people.
Nevertheless, Ward’s frustration is understandable considering that in light of the test results, police have now closed their investigation into her mother’s death, citing a lack of evidence.
Whether or not the euthanized dogs were ultimately guilty, however, their executions parallel a pattern in the justice system’s prosecutions of humans, as well — they are often carried out with insufficient evidence and frequently impose irreversible consequences.
Meanwhile, Brown’s daughter is left with few answers from the authorities who purport to serve her.
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