Hill County Paw Pals, Hill County, Texas
  

If You Have a Dog (or know of a dog) that Chases and Kills Chickens…Read On

 

Pet ownership requires responsibility.  Several Texas laws exist that encourages this responsibility.  Perhaps the most frequently violated law is the Texas Rabies Control Act (Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 826) which requires all pet owners to vaccinate (and keep current) their pets against the deadly rabies virus after four months of age or face Class C Misdemeanor violations—carries up to a $300 fine.  Another law that is frequently violated in our county is the abandonment of dogs and cats.  This vile act is included with animal cruelty laws and becomes a Penal Code 42.09 violation which is a Class A Misdemeanor with fines up to $4,000 fines and/or year in jail.  A little known law is the regulation of dogs dangerous to animals which is defined in Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 822, Subchapter B.  This law specifies that in all counties, the owner or keeper of a dog that the person knows will chase or kill livestock, domestic animals, or fowl may not allow the dog to run at large.  The penalty of the owner who allows his dog to run at large is in violation and can be punished with a fine not to exceed $100.

The majority of households within Hill County (60%) are located in areas without local (city) law enforcement and/or animal control.  Therefore the burden falls on the Sheriff Office to enforce these existing animal control laws.  It is ones civic duty to report violations of Texas law.  If you live outside city areas where local law enforcement is not available and you need to report a violation, call the Hill County Sheriff Office at 582-5313they are employed to serve and protect.

Pet ownership is a serious responsibility as well as enforcement of animal control laws.  Some 28,239 pets live within Hill County households.  Because 60% of households are outside areas without basic animal control, over 16,943 household pets are in areas that are not regulated.  Statistics shows that up to 70% of pets living in Texas remain unvaccinated or not current for the deadly rabies virus.  In other words, up to 7 out of 10 pets are not vaccinated for the deadly rabies virus and live with our families in contact with our children!  These figures do not include the hundreds of “homeless strays” that exist in our county.  Another alarming note is that our county allows “packs” of dogs to run at will which is simply dangerous.  Are we waiting for another “Lillian” incident to occur?  Lillian Stiles was the 76 year old lady who was attacked and torn apart alive to her untimely death by a pack of “stray” dogs.  Are we waiting for a child to die from the rabies virus because our county, in general, does not proactively enforce the rabies law?  Hill County needs to take a proactive approach to its ever worsening pet overpopulation issue by establishing basic animal control—a necessary core service.  Community leaders and representatives must embrace proactive measures and prioritize this menace of pet overpopulation towards correction (the word proactive is the key word in the last three sentences).  The implicit facts remains that pet overpopulation will not correct itself.

If you would like to become part of correcting pet overpopulation in our great county, please call (254) 580-0679, email hcpawpals@yahoo.com, visit www.hcpawpals.org, or write Paw Pals, PO Box 1533, Hillsboro, Texas 76645.  Paw Pals next public meeting is scheduled January 3rd at 6:30pm in the Bullock Room of Hill College cafeteria.