Athens Review, Athens, Texas

January 22, 2013

Commissioners move closer to penning in county’s wild animals

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Henderson County Commissioners Court on Tuesday paved the way for enforcement of a proposition passed in November that makes it unlawful for hogs, sheep and goats to run at large in the county.

The court issued a proclamation declaring that enforcement of the law will go into effect 30 days after Tuesday’s vote.

“I don’t think this issue goes to the validity of the law,” County Attorney Clint Davis said. “This goes more to the enforcement of the law.”

Davis said sheriff’s deputies said there was some confusion among the livestock owners as to when the law would go into effect. The Commissioners Court action will give sheriff’s deputies something in written form they can show when they go out on a call concerning the stray animals.

County voters decided in November, by a vote of 14,242 to 7,920, to ban free range to the animals. The Texas Agricultural Code states that the freeholders of a county, or area within a county, may petition Commissioners Court for an election determining if horses, mules, jacks, jennies, donkeys, hogs, sheep or goats are to be permitted to run at-large. More than 60 years ago, the county voted to become “closed range” for all but hogs, sheep and goats.

In other action, Commissioners set a public hearing on a request to set a 35 mile-per-hour speed limit on County Road 4334 between Farm-to-Market Road 607 and County Road 4336. Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin said drivers need to slow down in the area because of its proximity to New York Baptist Church. The public hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. February 12.

Commissioners also voted to:

• appoint Kenneth McGee and Rosemary Burns to new terms on the Henderson County Regi-onal Fair Park Board; and

• pay 2012 bills in the amount of $113,613.93 and pay 2013 bills in the amount of $205,774.22.