Animal dumping persistent problem for most East Texas counties

Animal dumping a persistent problem for most East Texas counties
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 3:25 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2023 at 6:34 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Law enforcement in some East Texas counties say ‘it’s a problem that never seems to go away: animal abandonment or dumping.

It continues to go on in rural East Texas counties, and comes at a cost to homeowners, law enforcement and animal care facilities.

Rural areas of Wood and Upshur counties have had repeated incidents of dogs and cats being dumped along remote county roads.

“It would be a misconception to believe that most of these animals are taken in and given a good home. There’s simply too many of them,” says Upshur County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy David Hazel.

Neighbors along FM 1795 in Wood and Upshur counties say they have seen hundreds of incidents of people dropping unwanted pets along the roadside near their homes.

“Been sad to see them but, every so often, usually in winter, the numbers increase. We see emaciated animals running through our yard,” says resident Arthur Duke.

Many of the county roads turn into dirt roads in spots, creating a too-easy spot to dump a dog or a cat without being seen.

The practice is costly in many ways, not the least of which is man-hours for deputies.

“Last year we answered over 1,900 animal-related calls for service. Stray animals being a big part of that,” Hazel says.

“There’s an extreme cost and that cost is directly funded by the taxpayers of that county or those cities. So it’s a problem that costs everybody something. We take in up to 500 animals a month. And that’s just in Gregg County,” says Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center director Chris Kemper.

“I’d love to see people have the commitment to take care of their own animals instead of dumping them. Make the decision, ‘if I’m going to have an animal, I’m going to take care of it,’” says Duke.

“It is a crime to dump an animal. And I can assure everyone that we will pursue that if we get a lead on who has dumped an animal out in the county,” Chief Hazel says.

Hazel says many of his deputies have adopted animals that have been caught as strays, because many shelters are overwhelmed.

The Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center offers a program called Spay It Forward to help control the stray cat and dog population. Learn more about the program here.