The Texas Backward Step

The Lampasas Animal Shelter is a public facility in Texas.  Here is what they write on their Petfinder page:

The shelter’s adoption hours are Monday-Friday from 10am until 5pm and Saturday from 9am until 11:30. All adopters must past [sic] an application prior to seeing the animals.

To me, this doesn’t sound widely welcoming and conducive to getting people in the doors to adopt pets.  I mean, if you’re trying to get pets out the front door and into homes, don’t you want to be open lots of hours when working people can come in?  And why on earth would you want to make someone jump through hoops before even allowing them to LOOK AT your pets?  That’s going to discourage many people including those who are hearing impaired, those whose English is not fluent, and people who just don’t want to provide all kinds of personal information before they even see if your shelter has a pet that might be a good match for them.

Perhaps it’s not all that surprising to learn that the Lampasas shelter director supports a proposed county ordinance that “would require everyone in the county with more four or more cats or dogs to register for a $40 permit with the Lampasas Animal Shelter.  By registering, individuals would be agreeing to subject their property to periodic inspections by county inspectors”.

And the potential consequences of these friendly neighborhood inspections?:

Anyone found either abusing animals or having more than they registered for could be ordered to surrender them to the county.

Oh ugh.  Why don’t they just pass an ordinance called “Something Else to Discourage People from Fostering, Adopting, and Taking in Strays While We Increase Killing at Our Local Shelter and Allow More Strays to Suffer on the Streets”?  At least that ordinance would have a shred of sensibility to it in that it would do what the name says.

If this ordinance is passed, county residents who want to continue rescuing community pets will either have to go underground and become outlaws or move to a county that doesn’t have a shelter with a bunch of power tripping yahoos salivating at the thought of violating their neighbors’ fourth amendment rights.  Oh and sorry Lampasas Co pets in need, sucks being you.

28 thoughts on “The Texas Backward Step

  1. Wow. Truly backwards policies and civil rights violations, all in the same town? Reminds me of infamous Maricopa County AZ policies before the sh*t started to hit the fan.

  2. Jan,

    I didn’t see any limits on when the “inspections” could be carried out, so I guess they can drop by any time they want. Better put some extra beer in the fridge.

    I’m assuming that the Lampasas AC folks saw how the euthanasia rates plummeted, following similar legislation in Dallas in 2008. (actually, the rate is exactly the same – surprised?)

    Are there *that* many people who secretly fantasize about kicking in their neighbors’ doors?

  3. This is sad. Too many of our shelters make it hard to adopt and then blame (us) the public for not adopting and for the shelter having to kill the homeless pets.

    People need to ask for better than this of our shelters.

  4. WOW – does anyone know if this shelter is one that works with HSUS? What about the County Judge Wayne Boultinghouse – is he elected and supported by HSUS? This whole thing sounds like an HSUS type policy.

    All I keep thinking is what’s next – are they going to limit cattle, chickens, children? The article says that this would give the Animal Control more rights – but I think that they should HAVE to get a warrant to enter a home. What if they choose a day where say you have been sick for a week and while you still have maintained as much as you could while you were sick – say things aren’t completely at 100% like they would normally be….are they going to take that into account? They say it has to do with people breeding from teh article -“Kasey Dressell runs the Lampasas Animal Shelter and says the tougher policy will help crack down on those breeding illegally.” Sure doesn’t sound like that is the ONLY reason why they are doing this to me.

    AND, once again we have a ‘law’ that is looking at being passed that doesn’t include the standard of care at the SHELTER – but targets private citizens. My biggest issue is that it doesn’t spell EVERYTHING out. So it gives some power hungry people more power while denying citizens their rights as stated within our Constitution.

    Rescue is a big deal – we have people around me that foster for rescue groups and at times have 10-20 animals at a time. The number changes frequently as animals go to new homes and new animals come in. Are these rescues supposed to file every single time there is a change – and do they have to pay the $40 fee EACH time there is a change?

    Let’s hope this goes down….quickly. Let’s hope the citizens of this area can see through what is being said to the bottom line and tell them to stick it. Animal Control SHOULD have a warrant to enter your home. There should have to be a good reason why they are there and there should be limits to what they can and can’t do. What if they show up and you don’t answer the door? Are they allowed to kick it in to check on the animals? This law is beyond scary and people need to keep their eyes and ears open. If thsi passes there it could become a “norm” that many other counties start enacting.

    Soon – we’ll be told that people can only have so many kids, cattle, chickens, etc. This is wrong in so many ways.

  5. So somebody please tell us- which county CAN we move to? They are ALL going down the drain fast… Maybe that should be a different COUNTRY, you think? On second thought, other countries have it just as bad. Underground it is then. We all become criminals. They’ll come after us anyway.

    1. You can come to Alaska…although some have moved outside the borough limits as that felt better for them.
      But if you’re coming here, plan on doing rescue, because the population of dogs is WAY higher than the human population. (Mother Nature takes care of the feral cat population…sigh.)

    2. Very few rural Texas counties have the $$ or interest to pass these ordinances. We are losing population to the cities so land is cheap…come on out to West Texas!

  6. “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers.”…Ayn Rand

      1. I don’t know about her but I sure have noticed we are living it, terrorists are all around us trying to look over our fences for our animals and whatever else we may own. Code Compliance wants to see inside our homes to check the plumbing, water heaters, new air or heating units and charge us to be sure the exorbitant rate we paid the plumbers are installed properly….if we can’t trust the plumber to do it right, why do we trust CODE to take more hard earned dollars to check them out? They are just looking for something else to write us up for, to make more money for crooked cities!

  7. Lot of places like you having to steal people animals is wrong. When they can take care of them and u tell them they can have only so many is wrong. What do u do put them down right if they don’t get adopted out. Your not doing any good in a lot of situations.

  8. My little semi-dyslexic brain initially read “Lampasas” as “Lame ass”–and in this case, the neurons got it right! And who came up with this magic number of “four”? If this point is really to detect “illegal breeders” then make the number something like more than 12 animals. Plenty of non-rescue, non-breeding homes have 4 animals. But I suppose if you are looking for a revenue stream, keeping the threshold low works well.

  9. “Truly backwards policies and civil rights violations, all in the same town?”
    Pretty much the whole state of Texas. We’ve been invaded by HSUS as far as I can tell.

    When animals aren’t considered property, owners can’t protect them. There are many downsides to considering animals property but I truly doubt they can be worse than what the governments in Texas are doing by treating pet animals as disposable and subject to being outlawed; alternatively, one must surrender one’s fundamental rights to own them.

    While the public and legislature are scrambling to reverse the trend of eminent domain and protect other property rights in Texas, the historical bastion of property rights, we have the creeps all over Texas who think they have the right to inspect every home that has pets in it and rather clearly think animals are better off dead than dirty or even in a home where they are not permitted to invade at will.

    1. You know that is something I had been questioning up until I just read your post. HSUS, and many of it’s CORE supporters, keep pushing for people to stop saying we own our pets – that we are their “caretakers” and we are here to provide for their “rights” and “welfare”. I had a heck of a debate a month or so ago with a die-hard HSUS supporter who argued with me back and forth about the “owning” aspect of people & pets. I questioned her and flat out asked…well if we can’t “own” our pets then who can the courts go after when it comes to neglect and cruelty cases. Technnically if an animal is in my home and I don’t own it – (hypothetically) then I don’t want one of the mindless neighborhood kids taunting one of my dogs through the fence only to one day see the dog jump it and go after them and find out it were to bite one of them – because IF that happened and the dog wasn’t MY property then how could I be sued? I thought it was a very good question and instead of answering she went off about how ownership demeans an animal.

      BUT after reading about this ‘law’ and your response to it…something FINALLY clicked in my head. I realize where HSUS is going with this NOW. And that makes this proposed revision of this law seem scary to me. VERY SCARY!

      So what happens now – are the citizens of this town going to vote on this or it being left up to higher powers that won’t give their citizens a say?

      1. And that’s where I get lost. I didn’t know our judges have that kind of power. I thought they were here to basically see that the people who abuse the law get brought to justice – not rewrite laws.

  10. Thanks SO much Texas Human Legislation Network, for your outreach work in Lampasas! They sure liked your koolaid!

    RPOA’s lobby day in Austin is 2/28/11, for Texas dog owners who are concerned about THLN’s new attempt to pass their crappy ‘puppy mill’ law (11 dogs? Congratulations, you’re a puppymill!) again this year.

    1. In the article it says that the new revision is to be voted on Feb 14…so if lobby day is on the 28th does that mean this has a chance of being overturned, IF it goes through….

      Sorry – I’m a little challenged when it comes to passing laws and stopping the changes and making revisions……

      1. Lobby day will have nothing to do with Lampasas. RPOA will have their LOBBY DAY on Feb 24th at the STATE LEVEL in AUSTIN.

  11. Some great comments! But YB! has just highlighted another example of where this industry started and how little distance it has moved in 100 years.

    Dog catchers – the worst, most reviled government job in any community. “Shelter Director” is just a polite modern euphemism for prison warden.

    Looking at the Lampasas Impound Facility (“shelter”) is like stepping back into the early 1900s to see this ugly industry’s early beginnings. What do we expect from a local government’s employee dumping ground?

    This is where advocates can have such an impact: time to speak up and let that little sleepy community know that it’s now the 21st century and we expect better. Fire the idiot who runs that death row facility. Bring in people who care and can get the priorities straightened out. It’s easy.

    As long as guys like Dennis Rader, the “BTK” serial killer, work at or run these little shops of horror, nothing’s going to change.

  12. Wow. If someone is caught with 5 dogs, they will be confiscated, and the Lame-ass (Susan got it right) shelter’s population will swell by 5 more that are available for *viewing* by *approved adopters* during a whopping total of 37.5 hours per week, 35 of which occur when most of the population is at work, traveling between work and home, or fixing dinner.

    Well, I guess that system can be used to pretty much assure that the available dogs are mostly ones that are most in demand – small/young/fluffy – because the continuing influx of pets confiscated from people who exceed the limit (whether permitted or not) will assure that it is “necessary” to put down the least wanted dogs – large/black/bully – to make room for those that have just been taken from their homes.

    Can’t wait to see how these wingnuts define “abuse” of pets. Maybe any dog or cat that doesn’t eat in the kitchen and sleep on the bed and have a full-time sitter while the family is at work and school?

    1. elaine wrote:

      “Can’t wait to see how these wingnuts define “abuse” of pets. Maybe any dog or cat that doesn’t eat in the kitchen and sleep on the bed and have a full-time sitter while the family is at work and school?”

      Or maybe anyone who doesn’t require friends and family to complete an application when visiting their house before they LOOK AT their pets.

  13. My amazement is that as humans we see nothing wrong with overpopulating the planet ourselves (and in the process using up resources that we’re not renewing), but we sit in judgement of other living creatures and how many we will “allow” to be on the earth! When are we going to figure out that being human doesn’t put us at the top of the food chain?! We’re the only species that is killing the planet – but there’s seems to be no checks and balances on us! This is such a disgusting situation all over, not just in Texas!

  14. So basically after reading the blog, article, and comments this is what it comes down to – a judge has decided that this community needs to set a limit of 4 animals per household and wants to give their ACO’s more power to take & confiscate ANY animals they wish if you just so happen to be over the 4 limit, at any time they wish. It’s all supposed to happen THIS Friday.

    As of right now – we still don’t have anything on paper that shows us what this revision of the law is going to say other than the special number 4 and the extended powers.

    Correct me if I am wrong – don’t know how they do this everywhere – but where I live our ACO’s have the ability to write tickets for people who are not in compliance with laws (ie – leash law and you not having your dog on one), they are able to pick up strays, and investigate cruelty cases. So I don’t understand WHY they need “more power”. AND, is this going to be a case of nobody even knowing EXACTLY what the wording of this is going to be until AFTER it is implemented?!?!?

    Something is stinky around here…and it’s not the litter box next to me!

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