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Houston Pet Owners Pay Attention to New Animal Control Rules

Animal control officers now have rules against noisy or aggressive pets.

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The city’s animal control division, known as BARC, will now be able to categorize troublesome animals as nuisance, aggressive or dangerous.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says previously, the city only had a dangerous dog designation and couldn’t do anything about pets that are a nuisance to the neighborhood.

“If that dog barks all night, maybe it’s not a dangerous animal, but I become dangerous because I want to kill somebody. If you’re going to have pets in the city, you have to maintain certain standards and so a dog that barks, we have a mechanism to step in and engage with the owner.”

Pet owners can be fined for having nuisance or aggressive animals, and repeat offenses could result in the pet being impounded.

Houston councilmembers passed the new rules 15-1.

Councilmember Brad Bradford voted no because of a clause in the ordinance that allows BARC to euthanize an untagged animal after three days or euthanize or adopt out a tagged but unclaimed animal after six days.

“How many of us around the table would want our little pet taken away from us, divest of our ownership in three to six days. I don’t see anybody’s hand going up. Well why are we going to pass an ordinance doing it to other people out there? By God, it isn’t right.”

Other councilmembers said they sympathized with that view, but ultimately approved the rule because BARC officials say they don’t have enough space or money to hold unclaimed animals for more than a few days.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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