Smith County to Tackle Stray Dog Problem

Smith County is getting ready to tackle the problem of stray dogs. This weekend, a pack of dogs attacked children, law enforcement officers, and a bull at Lake Palestine. Officers say the owners had not restrained those dogs. Smith County does not have a leash law, but the city of Tyler does. We rode along with a Tyler animal control officer this afternoon, to see if that leash law makes a difference.

Chris Lennon, city animal control officer, says an unrestrained dog can quickly become a stray and cause problems.

"You have a chance that this animal could be sick and it could bite somebody. There's interaction with wild animals. They could contract rabies," said Lennon, as he drove around town to see if stray dogs had roamed into the traps he set to catch them.

Animal Control says the leash law in Tyler helps control the number of stray dogs, and in turn, reduces the number of attacks on people. That's unlike the county, where there are no leash laws, so dog attacks are much more frequent. In fact, today, we tried to ride along with a Smith County animal control officer, but he was too busy responding to calls about vicious dogs. Chris Lennon doesn't get nearly as many calls.

County Judge Becky Dempsey says she wants the public's help in solving the problem of viscous dogs. She's asking people to send suggestions on what should be done, to the Commissioner's Court office. Dempsey says although the problem isn't new, now may be the time to try some creative solutions.

Julie Tam, reporting.