The Ellis County Commissioners Court has amended the county’s animal control ordinance to allow the sheriff’s office to pick up stray dogs upon receipt of a complaint.

Citing Section 826.033(a)(2) and (3) of the Texas Health and Safety Code, the amendment portion of the ordinance reads, “All stray dogs in the unincorporated area of Ellis County upon which a complaint has been made by a person may be detained and or impounded by the Ellis County sheriff or other authorized official.”

In September, commissioners had amended the 1996 ordinance, removing language referencing “running at large” and allowing only for the pickup of dogs deemed rabid, vicious or a nuisance.

In taking the action in September, commissioners cited several concerns, including the cost of animal control. A number of residents spoke out against the commissioners’ action, with one critic gathering more than 800 signatures requesting the ordinance be put back as it was.

On Jan. 14, commissioners said they still had concerns although they were in agreement to allow stray dogs to be picked up at this time.

“I don’t believe this is a permanent solution, but it is a temporary one,” Commissioner Pct. 1 Dennis Robinson said, saying he felt there are a number of misunderstandings about the county’s role in animal control as well as the issue of animal rescue.

“That’s just a couple of issues … there are a lot of topics that can be discussed to better animal control and also make it more cost-effective,” said Robinson, who will head up a committee that will be tasked with researching the issues further and finding ways to make improvements.

“There are some things we need to look at,” Commissioner Pct. 3 Heath Sims said. “I don’t think this is the end – I do think we need to move forward and at least look at this.”

County Judge Chad Adams expressed his appreciation to commissioners for their continued work on the issue, noting in particular Robinson’s leadership role in “bringing the different parties together.”

The commissioners gave their approval to the formation of the committee, which will have its members named at a future meeting.

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