What Happens When Pets Attack?

Angelina County only has two animal control officers. They have their hands full this time of year responding to animal attacks, but they also take calls daily about animals they can't take in.

Chief Deputy Jim Casper said, "We frequently are called with complaints of animals that are stray, but we have no authority to have those picked up."

Vicious dogs picked up by animal control are quarantined at the city animal shelter in Lufkin. Pets are often protective of their owner and their home. Intimidation is not a reason for quarantine, but attacking someone is.

"If an animal has bit a person or scratched a person and broke the skin, then by state law, they are required to quarantine the animal for a period of ten days so it can be observed and make sure it's not showing any symptoms of rabies - even if it has been currently vaccinated for rabies," said Animal Control Director Rhonda McLendon.

If a dog shows signs of rabies, it will be euthanized. Refusing to have a pet quarantined could land you in jail and cost you a daily fine of $500. The county can even seize your pet to quarantine it. Animal control officers do understand some animals have a reason to attack.

Chief Casper said, "People have called in and wanted to report an animal is a dangerous dog and they've been hitting the animal with rocks or sticks, and then when the animal finally does respond, they wanna report it. That does not comply with the definition of a dangerous dog."

Animal control officers get very few calls about pets that have attacked someone. In fact, the county gets more animal cruelty complaints than reports about vicious animals.

Angelina County Animal Control officers get up to three calls a month about vicious animals.