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.  Three Texas laws exist to promote this responsibility.  The first, and perhaps the most frequently violated law, is the Texas Rabies Control Act (Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 826).  This law requires all pet owners to regularly vaccinate their pets over four months of age against the deadly rabies virus.  Failure to comply is a Class C Misdemeanor that carries up to a $300 fine.  A second law that is frequently violated in our county pertains to the abandonment of dogs and cats.  This vile act falls under animal cruelty laws and is a Penal Code 42.09 violation.  This is a Class A Misdemeanor with fines up to $4,000 and/or one year in jail.  And lastly, a little known law has to do with the regulation of dogs dangerous to animals, 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 to chase or kill livestock, domestic animals, or fowl may not allow the dog to run at large.  The penalty for the owner who allows his dog to run at large in violation of this law is 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 County Sheriff Office to enforce existing animal control laws.  It is one’s civic duty to report violations of Texas law.  If you live outside city limits where local law enforcement is not available and you need to report a violation, call the Hill County Sheriff’s Office at 582-5313.

 

Pet ownership and compliance with animal control laws is a serious responsibility.  Some 28,239 pets live within Hill County households.  Because 60% of households reside in areas without basic animal control, over 16,943 household pets live outside regulated areas.  Statistics show that up to 70% of pets living in Texas remain unvaccinated (or not current) for the deadly rabies virus.  In other words, up to seven of every ten pets living in our homes and in contact with our children are not vaccinated for the deadly rabies virus!  These figures do not include the hundreds of “homeless strays” roaming our county.  Also alarming and dangerous is the fact that our county allows “packs” of feral dogs to run at will.  Are we waiting for another “Lillian” incident to occur?  Lillian Stiles was a 76 year-old lady who was attacked and killed by a pack of “stray” dogs.  She was literally torn apart in a grotesque attack that took her life.  Are we waiting for a child to die from such a preventable attack or even from the rabies virus?  At what point will our county make a dedicated proactive animal control program a priority?  Hill County must take a proactive approach to its ever worsening pet overpopulation issue by establishing basic animal control—a necessary core service.  Community leaders and elected representatives must embrace and prioritize proactive measures to eliminate the menace of pet overpopulation (“proactive” is the key word in the last three sentences).  The simple fact remains that pet overpopulation will not correct itself.

 

If you would like to become part of the solution to ending pet overpopulation in our county, please call (254) 580-0679, email hcpawpals@yahoo.com or write Paw Pals, PO Box 1533, Hillsboro, Texas 76645.