Wild dogs prompt citizen to call for rural shelter

By Lisa Treiber-Walter —

Dogs running wild in Gillespie County have prompted one local woman to speak out in favor of a leash law and the establishment of a countywide shelter.

“Each day when I try to walk my dogs, I get attacked by 18 animals — every day,” said Sally Jarnecke on Monday as she approached Gillespie County Commissioners in their regular session at the courthouse.

 “I have to carry a gun to protect myself and my dogs,” she said, claiming that the unrestrained dogs have bitten several children, although those bites have gone unreported to authorities.

“No one knows if they’ve had a rabies shot or not,” she said. “What I’m afraid of is that a kid or an adult is going to get rabies and we are all going to be liable for what happened because that wasn’t enforced.”

“All these animals run loose while their owners are at work,” she added, saying that calls to law enforcement have been ineffective.

“I do not wish to walk down the road and shoot 18 dogs. If I did that, I know that retaliation would soon follow,” she said. “They are irresponsible owners and they are at fault — not the dogs. All too often we think that that’s the solution — and I know ranchers, if you have a loose dog on your property and it is going to attack your animals, you’re going to shoot it. But somebody owned that animal … Somebody is responsible.”

“I see dogs neglected everywhere. I see them tied to trees — no food, no water. This is against the law,” Jarnecke said. “Anyone who dumps or abandons an animal should face the misdemeanor of a $4,000 fine.”

Jarnecke said a county shelter and leash law enforcement are the answers to this problem.

“One of the reasons these things don’t get enforced is our sheriff’s department doesn’t have the staff to run around this whole county and enforce this,” she said. “We’ve got to find a way to do it.”

Jarnecke said the mission of a county animal shelter is to provide a safe, humane environment and quality care for every animal brought there. It is designed to balance health safety, education and opportunity — not just for the animals, but also for pet owners.

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