Commissioners rescind law, residents instructed to fend for themselves
By 10/04/2007 00:00:00
Ellis County Press
WAXAHACHIE - While Dallas is tightening restrictions and increasing the enforcement of its laws regarding stray animals, as evidenced by its 'Sweep Team' program, Ellis County Commissioners recently abandoned their attempts to control the stray animals in Ellis County.
Two weeks ago, commissioners rescinded the leash law in Ellis County, essentially leaving it up to citizens in unincorporated areas of the county to fend for themselves.
Commissioners determined the annual cost of $300,000 to deal with strays in the county was consuming an unjustified portion of the annual budget.
The sheriff's office will now only deal with dogs that are vicious or rabid. The ordinance defines a vicious animal as, 'Any individual animal that has on one or more previous occasions, without provocation, attacked or bitten any person or other animal.'
Residents can still file complaints with the sheriffs office about lose animals or they can pursue action through their local Justice of the Peace.
Commissioners felt that Ellis County's liberal policy to pick up any stray animal which was 'running at large,' encouraged people living outside of Ellis County to use the county as a dumping ground for unwanted animals.
Local residents may also have taken advantage of the broad language used in the old ordinance to dispose of unwanted animals in their care.
Animals picked up by the sheriffs office are placed with the SPCA, for a per-animal fee.
There has been concern the new ordinance may result in a lack of animals being placed with the SPCA.
A lack of available animals may result in animals not being available for adoption by the public, causing the SPCA to have to look elsewhere for animals to offer for adoption.
County resident Kennette Davis is outraged by the action of commissioners and has started a petition drive to convince them to reinstate the leash law.
Any resident wishing to have commissioners reinstate the previous leash law, which makes the sheriffs office responsible for responding to calls regarding all loose, stray and abandoned animals, can contact Davis and sign her petition.
Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.