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San Antonio city officials could soon limit how long people can leave their dogs tied up outside, ban the use of chains to tether dogs and crack down on pet owners whose runaway animals aren't spayed or neutered.
Those are among the changes the city's Animal Care Services department would like to see to the section of city code that deals with animals – rules that, according to the Express-News, haven't been updated since 2011. ACS Assistant Director Shannon Sims called the department's proposals an attempt to make San Antonio a more pet-friendly city. He told us much has changed about the city's attitude toward animals since this part of the city code was last tweaked.
"We feel we have come quite a way in that time frame," Sims says. "We're ready to elevate San Antonio to the next step of becoming a truly animal-friendly city."
The new measures focus on preventing animal harm and addressing community noise complaints. Under current rules, dogs can't be tied up for more than 14 hours. But Sims says it's nearly impossible to make sure that this isn't happening. The new proposal would aim to restrict pet owners from tethering their dogs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The banned hours will do more to make sure that animals aren't tied up at all times of the day, Sims says.
To draft the changes, ACS hosted several meetings with community members and polled nearly 1,000 people in all city districts about San Antonio's animal control problems. Sims says the number of dogs that have not been spayed or neutered was one of the main issues that surfaced.
ACS already preforms roughly four times the number of spay and neuter surgeries than it did in 2011. Still, the agency is considering leveling fines against pet owners for runaway dogs that have not been spayed or neutered.
ACS also says it hopes to take a harder line against illegal breeding and roadside sellers. The department's draft ordinance would also require that mother and all of her puppies be spayed or neutered before ACS releases them.
"We think this will have a tremendous impact on unwanted or unplanned animals," Sim says.
ACS plans to hold three more community meetings before finalizing its proposal to city officials. Department leaders expects to have their final draft ordinance ready for City Council consideration by August.