Government Law

Attorney can't bring his dog to work at courthouse, says AG's opinion backing county's ban

A county commission can’t legally bar service animals from the courthouse. But it can nix the county attorney’s practice of bringing his pet dog to his office there, the Texas attorney general has ruled in a written opinion.

Titus County Attorney John Mark Cobern said he isn’t happy about the ruling and disagrees with it, but will abide by it, reports the Daily Tribune. Cobern had argued that he, as an elected official, not the county commission, has the power to set rules in his own office, where he had been bringing his dog to work for three years.

“Commissioners courts have a specific statutory duty to provide and maintain a county courthouse and offices for county officials. This statutory duty gives a commissioners court ‘at least implied authority to regulate the use [of county offices] within reasonable bounds,’” the AG’s opinion explains. “Moreover, a commissioners court’s duty to provide offices … is ‘replete with discretion.’ Therefore, the regulation of animals in the county courthouse and county offices is a matter that is generally within the commissioners court’s discretionary authority.”

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