EL PASO, Texas - The El Paso Sheriff's Office got a helping hand Wednesday morning from the El Paso Animal Services Department to round up all stray and unrestrained dogs in the county.
Their efforts started in Montana Vista where 31 dogs were captured, two of those were surrendered by the owners.
Sheriff's Deputies handed 22 citations for owners whose dogs were not vaccinated.
According to a State Health and Safety Code, residents of unincorporated areas of the county are required to have all dogs vaccinated. Spay and neuter is recommended for all pets.
Hugo Navarro, supervisor for the city's Animal Services says the department is always willing to help when the Sheriff's Office needs assistance.
"It's pretty difficult for one person to apprehend a dog. It took two agencies to pick up a dog that was being aggressive," said Navarro.
Navarro has been capturing animals for two decades.
Animal Control officers use a special rope made of cotton and nylon to roundup the dogs so they are not harmed in the process.
"An animal sees you and for some reason they know who we are they just end up running from lot to lot," said Navarro.
Navarro said another challenge for them is the lack of fencing around properties.
Officials from the Sheriff's Office and the city's Animal Services Department agree that safety is the number one priority, especially when it comes to the children who live in the unincorporated areas of the county.
As officials went after dogs, a school bus filled with children pulled into the same street where at least three large dogs were roaming. Officials said that's a potential danger for children.
Navarro believes that education is key and the roundups are necessary more often in the county. He would like to see more outreach programs for residents.
"It's heartbreaking. You see mom and her pups and it's heartbreaking. It's never the dogs' fault, it's the owners that are not responsible," said Navarro.
The stray dogs were all taken to the El Paso Animal Services Shelter at 5001 Fred Wilson where they will be up for adoption. They will be held for three days.
The dogs that are microchipped will be held for six days while the owners are contacted.
"I think this is the beginning of something that should be seen more of in the future," said Navarro.