Question on shooting stray dogs - TX

Discussion in 'LEO Talk' started by Bimmercat, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. Bimmercat

    Bimmercat XDTalk Newbie

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    I don't know if this is off-topic, but we are having a problem on our family ranch in rural Fayette County, Texas and was wondering what the legal ramifications are of actions we want to take.

    Our 90 acre ranch is located outside city limits and is surrounded by other large acreage farms and livestock ranches.

    Lately, we have noticed a neighbor across the dirt county road and down about 1/2 mile, has started acquiring dogs at an alarming rate. He probably has 8-12 dogs of various breeds and mixes and some of the dogs appear to be offspring of his first few dogs.

    First, he had one or two dogs, that would chase our trucks down the road 100 yards or so...nothing overly annoying. Lately, we see these dogs on literally every corner of our land. They have gotten into the garbage once or twice and like to come near the ranch house and harass our own two dogs (that never leave the property).

    We also beleive that since these dogs have been running all over our land, our once thriving deer population has moved on (!!!). I was sitting in one of our deer stands last weekend, and here came about 4-5 of the bastards...barking and runinng through our land.

    We began a strict game management plan about 5 years ago, not shooting any deer and setting out various feeds for the deer and observing our little free-ranging herd. This ranch does not have a high fence, only a 6-wire 4-foot babrwire cattle fence. Its easy for these dogs to come and go as they please.

    My question is...since we are way outside city limits...and...this is OUR private land...is it legal for us to shoot/kill these dogs, if they wander onto our property?

    I have no qualms against shooting them and don't plan on saying a thing to our neighbors and since they really don't care about their dogs and won't see us do it, I am ready to get rid of these pests. (shoot...shovel...and shut up will be our policy!)

    Can we legally shoot these animals on our own land? I'd rather shoot them than try to put out some sort of poison, because we cannot control what eats the poison - our dogs could get into the stuff.

    Thanks for the info ahead of time...I will NOT shoot the dogs if I hear it is illegal, but we have to do something. We paid good money for this land years ago to escape leasing hunting land from greedy landowners and hate to see our hunting ruined by irresponsible neighbors.

    - Bimmercat
     
  2. RatMan

    RatMan XDTalk 100 Member

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    Have you thought about talking to the local sheriff to find out what the law is in that county?
     
  3. RicochetJim

    RicochetJim XDTalk 500 Member

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    Place a call to the county sheriff and ask.

    A friend of mine had a deer lease down near San Angelo. A neighboring ranch began raising goats. The goats kept coming over and messing up the deer feeds, keeping the deer away, and being a general nuisance. The owner received two warnings to keep his goats off this guys property but he refused to mend fences, etc. Nothing was done that deer season, but the following year, with the problem persisting, the deer hunters were told by the owner to shoot the goats on sight. Hehe! My buddy got 3 goats and one buck that year. :mrgreen:
     
  4. Bimmercat

    Bimmercat XDTalk Newbie

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    Livestock, like those goats, may be a different issue.

    I knw some Texas counties, especially way out west, have "open range laws" and livestock can legally feed on other's land and you CAN get into trouble for shooting cows on your own land.

    Thses are not livestock...just mixed breed country dogs that somebody collects. None are vaccinated...none are fixed...just running around getting into things and chasing away our deer herd.

    I thought about making a call to the sheriffs office, but with called ID and all, I did not want to draw any attention to us. (you know...in case somebody calls in to them, saying their dogs were shot...we're suspect No1)

    - Bimmercat
     
  5. RatMan

    RatMan XDTalk 100 Member

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    Pay phone?
     
  6. RicochetJim

    RicochetJim XDTalk 500 Member

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    Just go the the right coffee shop and find a deputy to strike a conversation with. 8) BTW, I figured livestock would be different. My thought was, if he could do this with goats, "wild" dogs would be fair game.
     
  7. Bimmercat

    Bimmercat XDTalk Newbie

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    Again...it varies from county to county, but I have a friend that used to own land out in far west Texas and he shot a couple of stray sheep that wandered on his land, not knowing the law. A week later, he got a visit from the sheriff, asking about the sheep. He admitted he shot the animals and the sheriff explained to him that this particular county had an "open range" law, that dated back to the 1800s and that he was required by law, to allow animals to graze on his land and he could not stop them(!?).

    Long story short, my friend was charged with a misdemeanor criminal mischief (since he let the animals to rot) and had to pay restitution to the owner of the sheep. Ignorance of this 100+ year old law was no excuse...he was busted.

    This is the ONLY thing keeping me from shooting these dogs right now. I want to find out the REAL deal on the law, concearning stray dogs in this county, before laying them to rest.

    - Bimmercat
     
  8. RicochetJim

    RicochetJim XDTalk 500 Member

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    If you are intent on being legal (which is a good thing), then why hesitate calling the Sheriff's office? If it is, then fire away.
     
  9. dolanp

    dolanp XDTalk 500 Member

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    Researched this a bit because I've always been curious myself. Looks like you are not really allowed to shoot the dogs unless they pose an immediate threat to you or they have just killed or injured one of your domestic animals (such as your dog).

    Here is a good explanation and discussion of animal cruelty laws in Texas. The relevant Texas statute is Section 42.09 of the Penal Code.

    Here is an excerpt from the defenses to prosecution discussion regarding animal cruelty in Texas, and why I think it might be a bad idea for you to shoot these dogs:
    So you can see, even police get charged for shooting a dog if the danger isn't imminent. Looking over some of this stuff, perhaps you may be able to get your neighbor charged with animal cruelty for his neglect to keep his animals secured in his own property. As others have suggested, you might want to see what the Sheriff has to say on the matter.
     
  10. whtvrsclvr

    whtvrsclvr XDTalk 100 Member

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    get a coyote hunting license, and then poor vision, and go hunting for those wild beasts.
     
  11. wfrazee

    wfrazee XDTalk 500 Member Founding Member

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    Gee officer, I was out hunting protected game that I have cultivated in a game management plan... etc... and here come these dogs, providing an iminent danger to my protected game....
     
  12. one-eyed-fatman

    one-eyed-fatman XDTalk 10K Member

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    Your friend did a dimwit. Shooting an animal and letting the meat go to waste. He deserved what he got. As for Bimmercat get your stuff together, ask the local law enforcement people and abide by the law. It's that simple.
     
  13. Son of Norway

    Son of Norway XDTalk 3K Member

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    Why wouldn't you talk to the dog owners first?
     
  14. one-eyed-fatman

    one-eyed-fatman XDTalk 10K Member

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    Son of Norway, Cause some people just don't care, which is obvious in this case. Idiot's should not be allowed to own animals. But they do.
     
  15. packingasubcompact

    packingasubcompact XDTalk 100 Member

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    The short answer, NO don't shoot the dogs. It could start a very unpleasant relationship with your neighbors - like maybe they shoot 10 head of your cattle one night or something. Just try to talk to them. It is not the dogs fault; they are just being dogs. Live stock and someones pet are very different things.
     

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