Hill County Paw Pals, Hill County, Texas

Pet Owners Without Control of Their Dogs are Breaking the Law and Will be Fined


Do you have one of those annoying neighbors that has total disregard for your property and well being because they let their nuisance or dangerous dog(s) run loose?  If so, these neighbors are criminals breaking State of Texas law and their irresponsible action will cost them dollars.  Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 822.012 states “the owner, keeper, or persons in control of a dog that the owner knows is accustomed to run, worry, or kill livestock, domestic animals, or fowls may not permit the dog to run at large”.  Note that the law states if the dog is “accustomed to run, worry…” so one doesn’t have to wait or witness the dog in the act.  Each time this dog runs at large the owner has violated state law and can be punished with a $100 fine.  So, if your neighbor has ten dogs that chase your chickens, a fine of $1,000 could be levied.  This law became effective in 1989.


If a dog(s) is labeled “dangerous”, more stringent requirements must be met.  A dangerous dog is defined as one that makes unprovoked attacks or acts like its going to attack a person when it is out of the enclosure which it is being kept.  State of Texas law (Chapter 822.041) states that the owner of a dangerous dog must register the dog with animal control office or the Sheriff Office in areas without an animal control office and restrain the dog at all times on a leash when outside its secure enclosure.  The owner must also purchase a $100,000 liability insurance policy specific for the dog to cover the cost of potential damage to a person.  This law became effective in 1991.


The enforcer of these laws, outside the areas of Hillsboro and Whitney (because these two cities have an animal control office), is the Sheriff Office because the Sheriff is the “animal control authority” as stated in Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 822.001.  Report all violations to the Sheriff Office by calling (254) 582-5313—they are employed to protect and serve.


There are three proactive programs that must work simultaneously together to correct pet overpopulation—Education, Pet Sterilization, and Legislation.  Paw Pals has been working hard, free from tax payers expense, with Education and Pet Sterilization where over 1,300 pets have been sterilized.  Legislation, an equally important proactive program (“the long arm of the law”), is where the Sheriff Office plays an important role because 70% of Hill County remains unregulated without animal control programs—relying solely on State of Texas animal control laws and Sheriff Office’s authority.


Hill County Paw Pals does not support leash laws in rural areas.  Enforcing the existing laws mentioned in this article will encourage responsible pet owners to constrain their pets with fences or obedience training.


If you want to become involved in bringing positive correction to pet overpopulation in our great county, Hill County Paw Pals meets at 6:30pm on the first Thursday of each month in the Bullock Room of Hill College cafeteria in Hillsboro.  Please call (254) 580-0679 or email hcpawpals@yahoo.com for more information.