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Dogs are being dumped all over rural roads in Texas

A recent social media post told of a brutal scene in the small North Texas town of Valley View: someone in a truck pulled over to the side of a road, forced a dog out of the vehicle and sped away. The pup chased the truck as it drove towards the highway, but the animal soon gave up.

The poster, the only witness, said she yelled at the dog catcher to stop but was unable to get a license plate number. She begged for the public’s help, but by the time local property owners arrived on the scene, the dog was long gone.

Unfortunately, dog dumping is on the rise across Texas as animal shelters operate at or beyond their capabilities and pet owners struggle to make ends meet, experts say.

A new state law could help. It bans anyone convicted of animal abandonment or other cruelty charges from owning companion animals for five years. The possession ban, which went into effect in September, was authored by Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, and supported by several law enforcement officials who correctly noted the link between animal cruelty and violence against people.

But much more needs to be done. Animal abandonment, a Class A misdemeanor, is especially on the rise along rural roads, where there are often few witnesses. “This is truly becoming a crisis of epic proportions as we see our rural counties grow and explode,” Shelby Bobosky, executive director of the Texas Humane Legislation Network, told me.

Bobosky said her organization has been traveling around the state educating judges and prosecutors about the new law. She has also traveled to several rural counties to advise local sheriffs, overwhelmed by dog ​​dumping in their jurisdictions, on ways to help alleviate the problem. Many post signs warning of the criminal consequences of abandoning animals. Others place hidden wildlife cameras in problem areas, or encourage property owners to do so, in the hope of catching perpetrators in the act.

Often, however, the only evidence of an abandoned dog is the dog itself, wandering around a pasture or along a road in search of food and water. If he is lucky enough to be picked up by a Good Samaritan, there are few hiding places to receive him. And many have already exceeded their limits.

That is the case everywhere. For example, Dallas Animal Services reported this week that capacity was at 139%. And SPCA Texas facilities “are bursting at the seams with animals, including an influx of puppies and kittens, unlike anything we’ve seen in the past 15 years,” spokeswoman Maura Davies told us in an email.

Bobosky, who is also an adjunct law professor at Southern Methodist University, said many rural counties don’t have shelters at all, something she hopes the next Legislature will address. We also.

Texans should know that there are consequences for dumping an unwanted dog on the side of the road. But they also need humane alternatives to giving up a pet.

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