Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gunner get yer!

Not surprisingly yesterday's blog well, shoot! got quite a varied response - ranging from shock horror, and outrage at the extreme animal cruelty, to compassion and support for our shotgun wielding maniacal neighbor..!

It brings to mind the difference in opinion regarding gun laws, both within Texas and back home in the UK. Across the pond you'll rarely come across an armed Copper, never mind an armed neighbor. I do remember, however, fearing farmers and their rifles, back in the day when it was 'cool' to trespass on private farmland....

One summer evening back home in Yorkshire, when us kids were bored and up to no good, I remember jumping a 3 foot high electric wire fence just so we could 'break the law' and hang out in the grassy cow field - not that there weren't fields and fields of public land and park areas to legally play, but what fun was that?

We barely strayed 15 feet from the long grass bordering the field, before a truck started heading our way. No doubt it was the farmer coming to clear us off. Unlucky for me, a boy I had the hots for - his name was Mousy - had fastened my shoelaces together.

My brother and one of his mates had already legged it (so much for protecting little sis) before I managed to kick off my shoes. Mousy (to his credit) waited for me, and together we scurried back out of the field the way we came, but not before the farmer and his gun had pulled up close enough to get a full ID of his teenage trespassers.

The blood was thumping in my ears. Of course he didn't shoot us - he yelled pretty loudly - but the fear and adrenalin of our close encounter with the angry farmer and his gun was excitement enough for this thrill-seeking rebel, and my trespassing days were over.

Out here in Hill Country, Texas, every Tom, Dick and Harry fancies himself as a farmer or should I say 'rancher', so owning a gun is the norm - with or without the land or ranch to go with it! Apparently everybody has the right to protect themselves and their family, and their livestock - if they have any. And lots of landowners do - at least a goat, or a chicken or two. Owning a pet cow is great for lowering land taxes - as long as you're willing to eat the beast....

So as far as calling in the police to prosecute my doggy's attacker, it seems the authorities would be more inclined to issue a citation against my trespassing doggy for hounding our neighbor - quite possibly the 'real' victim in this scenario - than slap the wrist of our girl's gun attacker.

That having been said - according to our local and sympathetic Deputy - unless a shooter has just cause to offload his weapon at any animal, not just someone's well loved pet - 'just cause' being defense of ones livestock or family against a threatening predator or would-be attacker - then it is classed as a felony, trespassing or not (I hope that doesn't include scorpions).

Taking any legal course of action is not really an option. However, reaching out to our neighbor to at least find out a motive, and let him know, we know 'whodunnit' might make him think twice from sniping our girl again.

I've got to say though, the severity of our neighbors' actions, makes me question the smartness of initiating any further contact with them. The gunman's seeming apathy to our (the dog owners') presence when he committed the 'felony' does not bode well for a reasonable tete-a-tete over iced tea and lemonade.

The last thing I want is for my dogs to be making a nuisance of themselves, never mind terrorizing any livestock or God forbid scaring kids. And, whether or not this was the case, next time we might not be lucky enough to have her come home again.

Our two year stint of dog-walking freedom I raved about in No Trespassing. Private Property. Keep Out! has sadly run its course. Perhaps it's time to finally fence our perimeter so our rovers can roam our 4 acre 'ranch' without running the risk of being shot - and we won't ever have to 'hit' any trespassing hounds ourselves!

1 comment:

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