Marshall County commissioners on the Animal Control Board have reached a consensus that there's been a lack of understanding of property rights when dogs run free and threaten other livestock.
"If a dog gets on your property," Commissioner Billy Spivey, chairman of the Animal Control Board, said after hearing of residents' complaints about dogs killing a goat, "you shouldn't be surprised what happens."
Commissioner Larry McKnight brought such an issue to the board last week after being approached by a constituent whose goat was killed by dogs.
"It sounds like a lack of understanding of livestock owners and dog owners and property ownership," Spivey said.
"You have the right to protect your investment," he said.
Discussion indicated that could include shooting a dog attacking a goat.
McKnight said he knows a county resident who takes that course of action and the commissioner said it's legal.
Recently, a housedog got loose and was found eating a goat, McKnight said.
Commissioner Tony White owns livestock and commented that a housedog isn't supposed to be in the yard.
"You know what the Indian said about that," said White, "Dog threatening livestock - dog gone."
Commissioner E.W. Hill said lawsuits have been filed over such circumstances and that's resulted in hard feelings between neighbors.
Commissioners agreed that residents who need to know more about their rights and responsibilities under such circumstances should contact Willard Cates, the county's animal control officer. His office phone number is 359-5948.