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Tyler County Booster - Local News

Copyright 2011 - Polk Coun
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Roaming dogs can take a big bite out of owners pocket books

Tyler County Booster

Tyler County Sheriff ’s Department would like to warn the public about laws concerning dog bites in Texas. “A growing number of dogs are roaming around the county and owners are not aware of the laws,” said chief deputy Clint Sturrock. The state has reported 591 cases of rabies in Texas during the first half of this year, compared to 387 cases during the same time period in 2010. According to state officials, the increase is due to drought conditions and an increase in the skunk population, a carrier of rabies. State law requires if a dog bites someone, the animal must be quarantined for 10 days if it does not meet the following three requirements: must have current rabies vaccination, must be on the owners property and officers must be able to determine the animal had no way of getting out. If all three of these things are not met, the owner must pay quarantine vet bills. According to Sturrock, dog owners make a big mistake by shooting their dog in the head after it has bitten someone. “Fluid is extracted from the head of the dog in order to determine whether or not the dog has rabies,” said Sturrock. “If the dog is shot in the head, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to make the determination. This causes dog bite victims to suffer through a series of painful shots, sometimes unnecessarily.” Texas House Bill 1411 makes it a misdemeanor offense to chain a dog overnight, under extreme conditions or for longer than three consecutive hours. A fine of up to $500 comes with a first-time conviction, and a second conviction could mean jail time. House bill 998 would require owners of unneutered male dogs weighing 20 or more pounds, that are not restrained at all times, to carry a minimum $100,000 insurance liability policy. These dogs must also be kept in a secure enclosure at all times. Failure to purchase the insurance would be a class C misdemeanor punishable by fine. A second offense would be a class B misdemeanor (punishable with a fine up to $2,000.00 and up to 180 days in jail. This bill is dead for this session.

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