Becky Holland/Piney Woods News Photo
From Staff Reports
MARSHALL -Officers with the Marshall Police Department responded to an unusual rescue call during Monday night’s rains. They had received a call in the 1600 block of East Bowie Street of puppies being thrown out a car window into a very wet, flooded ditch.
According to the report, residents at a home noticed the box of puppies being thrown out the window. Officers found the puppies in a box that was overturned in a ditch of water.
The puppies were newborns without their eyes open- possible Pit Bulls. If they made it through the night, it would be a miracle. With limited financial and physical resources, Marshall’s ACOs rely on volunteers. So, calls were made and pleas were put out on social media for help. One volunteer offered to take them for the night, and a rescue, TSR LA Baby Mommas, offered to pick up the puppies the next day.
The car or person or persons who dumped the puppies has yet to be identified. Ironically, charges could have been brought due to Texas’ animal cruelty laws.
In the state of Texas, there are two types of laws to protect animals from cruelty – civil laws and criminal laws. In a civil case, a judge may take away animals and/or order that person or people to pay restitution. If prosecuted in a criminal case, those charged with animal cruelty may face penalties, including fines, jail or both.
Texas criminal laws only apply to domesticated animals, such as house pets and livestock defined as “domesticated living creature(s) or any wild living creature previously captured” and subject to a person’s care and control. The scope of civil laws are broader and do not differentiate between domestic and wild animals; however, civil statutes adopt a much narrower definition of what constitutes cruelty. Therefore, people could engage in actions that are not prosecutable under Texas criminal laws, but they would be held liable for their actions under civil laws. Section 42.09 “Cruelty to Livestock Animals” and 42.09(2) “Cruelty of Non-Livestock Animals” of the Texas Health and Safety Code prohibits a person from intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cruelly treating an animal.”
According to state law, the following are just a few of the actions defined as cruel punishment – torturing an animal, failing to provide food, care or shelter, transporting or confining an animal in a cruel manner, causing an animal to fight with another, or abandoning an animal.
In 2001, House Bill 653 and Senate Bill 1724, commonly known as “Loco’s Law,” went into effect, making animal cruelty a felony and punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to two years in jail. Loco was a puppy whose eyes were intentionally gouged out. Prior to Loco’s Law, animal cruelty was not considered a felony under Texas law. (www.capitol.state.tx.us, Texas Health and Safety Code 821.001)
Marshall Police Department Animal Control Officers on duty last night said the person or persons who dumped the dogs could have been charged had they been caught.
These 12 little pups, for now, are being fed and cuddled by volunteers through the night.
If you are interested in being a volunteer with the City of Marshall Police Department’s Animal Control and Shelter, call 903-935-4530.