Texas Town Permits Shooting of Roaming Dogs

A new policy that allows authorities in a rural North Texas town to shoot wild, roaming dogs has riled animal welfare advocates.

The policy, which permits authorities in Ferris to use shotguns to kill aggressive dogs running loose, was implemented last week to curb the town's growing population of feral dogs.

About 50 to 100 feral dogs roam the streets here, said Misty Clark, the lone animal control officer in this rural town of about 2,300 residents.

City Manager David Chavez said Ferris, which is about 20 miles south of Dallas, had become an unwanted pet dumping ground where the released animals breed, form packs and scavenge for food.

Police Chief Frank Mooney said the town had tried other methods with little success.

"It's not a task anybody relishes down here," he said. "You have to take care of the situation now or wait until someone's dead."

Mooney said police would shoot only potentially violent dogs after attempts to capture them had failed.

Animal rights advocates said the problem could be solved in better ways, such as trapping the animals or encouraging punishment for those who dump dogs.

"It seems like a cruel punishment to the animal when the blame is on people," said Sherwin Daryani, the executive director of Operation Kindness.