Ward County's "hands are tied" in stray dog problem

Ward County's "hands are tied" in stray dog problem

WARD COUNTY, TX (KWES) - Ward county residents are tired of dogs coming onto their property and killing their animals. The county judge says the problem has been an issue for years, but there isn't much he can do.

"We are trying to do what we can to address it," said Ward County Judge Greg Holly. "You have the truly wild dogs that run in packs and you have the dogs that are owned and their owners don't keep them pinned up."

In the 10 years Holly has been in office, he says strays have been an ongoing problem.

"They cause trouble with livestock. They cause trouble with 4-H projects for the kids. They cause trouble with pets," said Holly.

"All of this was just ripped open because he was running away from dogs," said Camilla Cutbirth, showing the scars on her horses ankle.

Her horses, ducks and chickens all have been attacked by strays.

"If I've got a dog in my pen, I'm going to pick my ducks over that dog," said Cutbirth.

Many county residents want more regulations, but with them living in the county, it can be difficult.

"Counties are somewhat limited in what they are able to do," said Holly. "Unlike cities, counties do not have ordinance-making authority."

Texas law does allow the killing of dogs that are attacking, about to attack or have recently attacked livestock, domestic animals or fowls.

Holly says the county has looked into other measures to protect their citizens, but their hands are tied.

"I have not found any counties in this area that have enacted anything beyond basic state laws. There are some larger counties that have some additional rules related to rabies control and that sort of thing," said Holly.

In the meantime, county residents are left being on alert and shooting dogs that pack up and attack their animals.

"The problem has to be solved by the pet owners, by the land owners that are just letting their dogs run free, that are dumping animals. It is their responsibility to fix the problem, not necessarily the county" said Cutbirth.

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