Mason County News
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Animal Welfare
Wednesday, February 23, 2011 • Posted February 23, 2011

Dear Gerry,

I recently had a homeless cat from town spayed. The vet also removed a BB from her. When I returned her to her area and asked if it was known how she received the BB wound, I was told that lots of kids in the area shoot BB’s at cats, birds, whatever. Another friend of mine has witnessed children carrying BB guns, as well as bows and arrows, looking for animals to shoot at. Apparently, the kids think this is a fun activity and their parents don’t mind.

I believe Texas Penal Code 42.092 protects "stray or feral cats and dogs" from an action that "causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering." In other words, when a parent permits his child to inflict pain and suffering on a cat or dog for no better reason than entertainment, that parent is letting his child break the law. It doesn’t matter if it’s one’s own property or not; cats and dogs, whether strays or homeless, are protected by law.

As to parents’ allowing their children to shoot with anything within the city limits, this is most likely illegal, as well. We all know that shooting off firearms is basically illegal, but to that you should add BB guns, air guns, bows and arrows...basically anything that can send out a projectile fast enough to cause harm.

Most kids don’t want to break the law. If we see children shooting at animals, we should tell them the law. If we know a parent lets his kid distress animals in this way, let the parent know the law. It’s well known that often abusive adults began their malevolent behaviors by abusing animals. In these days of bullying and violence, it’s very sad that a known seed of such abusiveness...cruelty to animals...is being permitted at the family level. One way to create a better society is for parents to teach love and care for animals, not callousness towards them.

Thanks,

Helen Liston

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