Hill County Paw Pals, Hill County, Texas

The Purpose of an Animal Shelter is Not Just for Dogs


            An animal shelter in conjunction with animal control laws serves a primary purpose to protect people, particularly our children.  The following two stories encourage citizens to look at an animal shelter as a service to the community and not solely to shelter dogs and cats.  Lana and Lew Crow’s family have come face to face with the deadly rabies virus which is the most dangerous zoononic (animal to human) disease known to man.  Acting out of kindness, they rescued a seemingly healthy puppy out of a ditch, only to learn later it was infected with rabies.  The rabies virus is so deadly that once symptoms are present, a horrific death soon follows since no cure is available.  All who came in contact with this puppy had to undergo preventive rabies inoculations—a painful and expensive procedure.  Included were their daughter who was pregnant at the time and their two year old granddaughter.  This incident resulted because of the irresponsible behavior of a person dumping a puppy in a rural area—because limited alternatives exist in our county without an animal shelter.  With this in mind, Lana Crow, Vice President Board Member of Paw Pals and Adoption Chairperson, said, “The reason I work so hard towards our goal to build a county animal shelter is not only to provide homes for our unwanted dogs and cats but to help safeguard the families of our county so they will not have to go through what I and my family had to endure.”  Hill County continues to be labeled a rabies quarantine county by the Texas Department of Health because the rabies virus is ever present.

            In a more recent incident, a lady outside of Hillsboro was attacked by a vicious “abandoned” stray dog.  The dog leaped to attack her face.  Fortunately, she raised her arms and was bitten only on the upper arm.  Because of the feral nature of the dog, it could not be captured.  She had to wait 10 days for the rabies incubation period before knowing if she was safe from rabies.  Had the dog been a larger breed, more serious injury or even tragedy would have occurred (recall Lillian Stiles, a 76 year old lady, who was pulled from her riding lawn mower and skinned alive to her death by a pack of stray dogs).  In fact, Hill County nearly had a tragedy early this year when a young man escaped with his life from a pack of attacking stray dogs by climbing a tree.

            Hill County has all the ingredients for a watershed event to occur because of its existing and worsening pet overpopulation issue.  Does it really make sense not to have proactive animal control in an environment of pet overpopulation?  For those who do not support the establishment of an animal shelter or think its sole purpose is simply to harbor unwanted dogs and cats, please reexamine your view—for the sake of our children.  An animal shelter is needed so our law enforcement can fully support existing State of Texas animal control laws (there are ten State of Texas animal control laws which can be viewed on our website www.hcpawpals.org).  An animal shelter is needed to provide alternatives for people to surrender their pets and not abandon them.

            Think about animal control laws in general—rabies control, abandonment, dangerous dog, anti-tethering—all of which primarily protect people.  Our county, because it offers no animal shelter, will continue to see its pet overpopulation issue worsen.  Did you know that statistically half of all children, by the time they are 12 years old, will have been bitten by a dog?  For those who do not support an animal shelter, please think again.  For more information about Hill County Paw Pals please visit our weblog: www.helphillcountyanimals.com; or call (254) 580-0679.