Houston: Humane Laws Pass


Houston, TX has taken definitive and legislative unanimous action in support of animal welfare. For starters, no dogs or cats will be sold at pet stores going into effect in one year for existing pet stores. However, no new pet store can sell dogs or cats. Adoptions at pet stores with legitimate non-profits continue to be welcome.

Austin, El Paso, Fort Worth, The Colony, Waco in Texas and about 400 other cities, various counties and five states ban the retail sale of pets sourced from commercial breeding facilities. That’s because no responsible breeder EVER sells to a pet store. The animals are from either large commercial facilities or puppy mills.

No More Chaining or Tethering

Also among the new Texas humane laws, a new state law, the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, just went into effect. This is an anti-tethering law, and also an overdue update in law requiring animals kept outside to always have clean drinking water and adequate shelter.

Chaining/tethering dogs can create territorial aggression, often in dogs who otherwise haven’t demonstrated one hint of aggression; traps dogs so they can’t possibly escape other animals from coyotes to aggressive stray dogs or taunting children; sometimes panicked dogs will desperately attempt to get loose from their chains and literally choke to death. Also, people who chain or tether dogs generally may keep them outside in all types of weather, even through thunderstorms which they can be electrocuted.

Mandated Microchipping

Also, in Texas, there is now mandatory microchipping of all dogs and cats. The mandate took immediate effect. Pet owners can have their dogs and cats microchipped for $15 by their veterinarian or through the city’s BARC animal shelter.  Cost is not a factor, but enforcement can be an issue.

Also, further public education is required regarding microchipping. Absolutely, lost pets can be recovered as a result of microchipping but that’s only when the pet parent registers with the microchip provider and updates information when the person moves or changes contact information.

The ordinance also allows BARC to reduce the stray hold from 72 hours to 48 hours for animals without a microchip or with a chip without information when scanned (that’s like not even having a chip), allowing for quicker adoptions and transfers.