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LAMPASAS

New Lampasas animal policy would require home inspections

by Matt Johnson

LAMPASAS - People with four or more cats or dogs in Lampasas County may be subjected to a mandatory in home inspection and to pay a fee to the county.

A proposed revision to an existing ordinance 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.

Kasey Dressell runs the Lampasas Animal Shelter and says the tougher policy will help crack down on those breeding illegally.

"We definitely have a lot of breeders here that don't hold up the animals to the degree of health that we could recommend," said Dressell.

Lampasas County resident Charles Leigh has five dogs on his property and doesn't feel comfortable with mandatory inspections.

"I don't see why they would actually go door to door and knock on someone's door and say, 'We need to see how many animals are in your house,'" said Leigh.

He says he takes in stay animals regularly because no one else will.

"The county's not real good at taking care of that, so I see that the people are," he said. "I don't see how they can pass an ordinance like this."

Under the revised ordinance, Leigh would be required to open his doors to inspectors for a periodic inspection for abuse and how many animals are under one's care.

County Judge Wayne Boultinghouse is in favor of giving inspectors more authority than they've ever had in the past.

"Right now the inspectors just kind of go on the recommendation of the sheriff's department that says, 'Hey that dog is a nuisance,'"said Boultinghouse. "So they go out there and say, 'Would you please do something with the dogs?' After this goes into effect, they can have more authority and say 'You must do something with this dog.'"

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

Boultinghouse says this week's massive animal seizure in nearby Coryell County has played a big role in the county's decision to upgrade their ordinance. 

"This is our attempt to be able to do something about it," said County Judge Wayne Boultinghouse.

While the court has been discussing how to strengthen their policy for weeks, Boultinghouse tells News Channel 25 he hopes the seizure helps garner public support.

However, Charles Leigh hopes the county finds an alternative approach.

"This ordinance to me is just another way to regulate money and regulate privacy," said Leigh.

The court will vote on the issue on February 14th.

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