Hill County Paw Pals, Hill County, Texas

Lillian’s Law—New Texas Law HB1355

Texas has passed HB1355 in addition to the new laws related to animal control that were addressed in our recent educational news release (HB 916 that increased the penalty of dog-fighting from a misdemeanor to a state jail felony and HB1141—anti-tethering). HB1355 is referred to as “Lillian’s Law”.  This law requires all dog owners to properly secure their dog(s) on their property.  The law provides that a dog owner can be held criminally responsible if their dog(s) cause serious bodily damage or death at a location other than the owner’s property in an unprovoked attack during which the owner by criminal negligence failed to secure the dog(s). 

One may recall the tragic story of Lillian Stiles that propelled the passing of HB1355:  On November 25, 2005 five dogs belonging to Jose Hernandez got loose.  They escaped their pen, which was behind a short fence, only three feet tall.  The escaped dogs headed down the street where 76 year-old Lillian was gardening in her front lawn.  Lillian and her husband lived on 10 acres in Thorndale which is 70 miles west of College Station.  The “pack” of five dogs attacked Lillian and dragged her from the seat of her lawnmower.  The “dog pack” mauled and mutilated Lillian to the point that she was beyond recognition.  “She was so disfigured that the first on the scene did not realize she was a woman,” said her daughter, Marilyn Shoemaker.  “They thought maybe she had been run over by the mower.”  Lillian died as a result of the attack.  Her husband, Jack, shot one of the dogs.  The remainder of the “pack” were captured and euthanized.

Having read this tragic story, please ask yourself this question: “Could such an event occur in Hill County—a place absent of basic animal control where the issues of pet overpopulation continue to go unchecked bearing our communities with health, economic, legal, and safety liabilities (H.E.L.S)?  Do we as responsible citizens wait for such a tragic and avoidable event to occur or do we take proactive measures now to protect our citizens.  If you have yet to contact your elected representatives on this issue (to facilitate the installation of a county animal control program), please do so now.  Paw Pals has been working for the past three years to facilitate the installation of county animal control and a county animal shelter.  Remember if you are among the silent majority—it is an ineffective group.  Please become involved in the place you call home and voice your valued opinion—our citizens, young and old, need your voice of concern.  If you would like to join the grass roots efforts of Hill County Paw Pals, please call (254) 580-0679; email hcpawpals@yahoo.com; or  write to Hill County Paw Pals, PO Box 1533, Hillsboro, Texas 76645.