As you may know, Animal Care Services has seen incredible change over the last several years. Those transformations have led to historic increases in the shelter's live release rate. In fact, in Fiscal Year 2012 (October 2011-September 2012), more than 16,000 pets were adopted, rescued or returned to their owners through ACS programs. In addition, the shelter's Trap Neuter Return (TNR) efforts saved the lives of thousands of community cats.
A proposed change to the city’s animal laws would allow ACS to immediately become the legal caretaker of any pet that comes into the shelter. The revision would still allow ACS to hold the pet for at least 72 hours for owner reclaim but the "stray hold" would start at intake.
Current Effect of the "Stray Hold"
Effect of the Proposed Change
As you can see, the current "stray hold" time can require ACS to keep a pet for up to a week—even if an adopter was identified on Day 1. The proposed change would get pets into loving homes quicker. There is no proposed change to the time a pet must be held prior to euthanasia.
Additionally, the shelter’s designation as the pet's "caretaker" would allow our veterinary staff to provide protective vaccinations and any needed medical care. That’s important because a recent ruling by the Texas Veterinary Board of Medical Examiners would prevent shelter veterinarians from providing any immediate medical care. This would include basic vaccinations to prevent the spread of diseases like Parvo and Distemper.
In order to maintain the health of our pets, our kennels and prevent disease, Animal Care Services veterinarians must be able to treat the dogs and cats that come into our shelters every day. The proposed change to the city’s animal laws would allow us to do just that.
The suggested revision would also require pet owners to have their dog or cat sterilized if they’ve been impounded by Animal Care Services. Certain exceptions like serious medical condition, status as a working dog or show animal would, of course, be allowed, but the proposed change would positively impact the largest and most troublesome types of pets coming into ACS—pets picked up while found roaming our city streets.
Look at the actual proposed ordinance revision.