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Texas town approves shooting stray dogs

The rural North Texas town of Ferris — about 20 miles south of Dallas — has approved a policy that allows authorities to shoot “wild” roaming dogs.

Ferris City Manager David Chavez said the Ellis County town approved the policy because it was becoming a dumping ground for unwanted pets. People drive out to the country to release pets they no longer want, but the starving animals breed, form packs and wind up scavenging for food, he said.

Ferris Police Chief Frank Mooney said the city would shoot only “potentially violent dogs,” and only as a last resort — after attempts to humanely capture the animal had failed.

This is a case, once again, of dogs being punished for the acts of humans; it’s the sort of thing you might expect in Baghdad, or maybe Alaska; and it’s full of faulty reasoning.

Every dog (like every human) is “potentially violent,” especially when it sees a lynch mob coming after it. My dog once roamed the streets himself, and gentle as he is, I’m sure he might have given indications otherwise if someone came after him with a rope or pole, much less a shotgun, which the new policy permits. I’m not entirely sure smalltown Texas lawmen should be acting as judge, jury and executioner.

As you might expect, the new policy has enraged animal welfare advocates.

“It’s unfathomable to me that the city of Ferris just outlandishly wants to go out and shoot these stray dogs,” Niloofar Asgharian, a board member of the nonprofit Animal Connection of Texas, said in a story in the Dallas Morning News. “It doesn’t do anything except that these dogs end up dying a slow, miserable death.”

Animal welfare advocates have suggested trapping the animals and better enforcing laws that prohibit dumping dogs.

“It seems like a cruel punishment to the animal when the blame is on people,” said Sherwin Daryani, the executive director of Operation Kindness.

There are 50 to 100 feral dogs roaming Ferris’ streets, said Misty Clark, the city’s lone animal control officer.

The town of Ferris can be reached through this contact form.

(Image: From dallasartsreview.com, “Stray Dog,” a painting by Roger Winter, an artist and teacher from Denison, Texas, who served on the faculty of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts)


Comment from bluhawkk
Time December 29, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Alerted the Humane Society and PETA to the Dallas Morning News report.

As mentioned the blame must rest with negligent or abusive individuals and an uncaring society.

With the current financial and mortgage mess, the situation can only worsen.

Comment from bluhawkk
Time December 29, 2008 at 5:16 pm

PETA responded saying they are already looking into the situation.

Comment from Fizzy
Time January 5, 2009 at 9:21 am

It’s easy to be horrified if you’ve never dealt with a pack of wild dogs. They are not like the dogs we know and love. We have one currently in our neighborhood which has been terrorizing us for years. This pack has devoured all the cats on the block and killed our neighbor’s pet dog – a large chow mix. They are starving and lead a miserable existence that drives them to this behavior. More than once I have been awakened in the middle of the night to a tormenting saga of listening to them hunt and kill small animals (including other dogs). It sometimes takes 20 or so minutes for the bloodbath to stop. There is little more unnerving. They have charged my husband trying to go to his car in the morning and I worry for my kids. I only wish our city would approve SOMETHING to deal with this menace. Shooting is not the best option but efforts at trapping have been wildly unsuccessful. If anyone has OTHER suggestions please bring them to my attention. In the meantime do not judge so harshly an overwhelmed city that is actually trying to do something about this horrible problem.

Comment from Carrie
Time August 20, 2009 at 8:18 pm

When you see stray dogs killing pets in people’s yards, they need to be shot. It takes them attacking a person before anything is done.

I wish they had the shot the stray dog policy where I live.

Comment from Anonymous
Time May 28, 2010 at 9:42 pm

shooting is probably a good option because what are they gonna do when they capture one of these dogs?..turn around and put it down. It makes it safer than trying to catch these dogs so they can then put them down

Comment from James
Time November 2, 2011 at 3:09 am

If stray dogs breed, the puppies won’t be immunized against rabies. They must be assumed to be rabid. All feral dogs must be assumed rabid. Any dog roaming loose, even one that is still owned, can bite. Perhaps all dogs should be muzzled in public, unless you have a permit for an unmuzzled dog. Dog bites cost the health care system about $100,000 a year. Human lives must always come first. All mosquitos in a malarial swamp may not carry malaria, or bite a person. Still, it’s the duty of government officials to spray, or drain the swamp, or do something. All packs of stray dogs should be eradicated. Human lives must always come first. If local authorities are short of cash, the army, national guard, or volunteer hunters can be used to safeguard human life. Politicians must always put hum,an lives over canine lives. These dogs are not a wild species that is part of the “balance of nature”. They are a threat to wild animals, including “endangered species”. Environmentalists should care about that. Establish a National Dog DNA Database, so those who abandon dogs can be heavily fined, or imprisoned if their animal bites someone. a dog DNA database would make it possible to track down and fine those who refuse to responsibly dispose of their animals’ waste, polluting the environment and making people sick.

Comment from James
Time November 2, 2011 at 3:12 am

Correction Dog bite cost the health care system about $100,000,000 a year. In ten years, that adds up to about a billion dollars. Our health care system doesn’t need that!