from the Texas Dog Commission

Trying to post this has been a nightmare and hopefully this will work…The email I received is apparently in a different format…

from the Texas Dog Commission below…

____________________

The VOTE & Implications for Pet Owners in Houston!!

First of all, many heartfelt thanks to everyone who let their barks & howls be heard.

Politics is a grassroots process and your voices do matter. City Council voted on the animal ordinances
today just a little while ago (3/26/14).

There were three hot issues that drew a lot of attention from citizens and here is how the Ordinances were
changed regarding these items only.
1. Pet Limits. The revised Ordinances removed limits on the number of dogs Houstonians
could own. There has always been no limit on the number of cats. There was an amendment
to the ordinances to have put limits on dogs and cats introduced by Council Member Davis
which was unanimously approved. Now the City of Houston has a limit on dogs and cats. There
will be a limit of 3 dogs and 3 cats. However, what was not clear is whether you can own 3
of each (have not seen the exact wording of the amendment introduced today but have requested it).
There is a 100′ distance included as well. There was a push by some for no pet limits so that
fosters for rescues will not be violating the law. Unfortunately, it backfired.
2. Distance Requirements for Pet Businesses. The revised Ordinances removed limits on the distance
requirements for pet businesses from residences. It is unclear whether the previous amendment will
affect pet businesses. The language has been requested.
3. Ownership of Dogs after Hold Period. The revised Ordinances contained a provision for ownership
to transfer to BARC after the 3 or 6 day hold period. CM Bradford offered an amendment to remove
that language which was seconded by CM Costello. Discussion regarding property rights of the owner
was had. CM Pennington suggested that the current 30 day grace period for redemption be kept but
change the number of days to 15. He offered that as an amendment to Bradford’s amendment which was
seconded by Bradford. CM Green suggested that there be a grace period and that owner’s should have
the first right of refusal to get their own dog back. CM Stardig expressed some confusion as to why
rescue groups would not return pets to their owners. It was suggested by the City that pet owners
could file suits to get their pets back.

When the amendment was called, CM Bradford went back to his original amendment to remove ownership
language from the ordinance. That did not pass (CM Bradford and CM Christie voted for it). However,
the 15 day grace period seemed to be of interest. As voted, the ordinance to allow BARC to “own”
dogs after the hold period passed.

What does that mean? First of all, this ordinance only applies if:
1. A dog gets out;
2. Is impounded by BARC;
3. BARC transfers the dog to a rescue group or adopter; and
4. the true owner makes a claim for his/her dog. The law only applies
to dogs impounded by BARC. This law does not apply to cats.

This law does not mean that a rescue organization or other 501c3 shelter can take in a dog,
hold it for 3 or 6 days and then own it. Rescue organizations and 501c3 shelters cannot impound
dogs and cannot deprive owners of their property. These groups are not animal control. In fact,
it is illegal for rescue organizations and 501c3 shelters to impound animals in Houston. BARC
has the sole authority for impoundment and it is actually a crime for anyone else to impound
dogs and cats. A blind eye is turned to this practice, however.

This law is an attempt by BARC only to deprive owners of their property and it remains to be
seen if this will hold up in court. This law purports to give BARC the right to own impounded
dogs after the hold period only. Of course, there will be a challenge to this law so it is only
a matter of time before someone will step up to get their beloved dog back.

Again, many thanks to all who cherish their ownership rights in their dogs and who took the time
to bark and howl! This issue is one that clearly has not been decided by today’s vote. Stay tuned!

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~ by topcatsroar on March 27, 2014.

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