san antonio animal laws

Use "Command-F" to search this page for specific issues. If you are worried an animal is being mistreated or have other animal concerns, call 311. We also suggest calling Animal Care Services directly, although it may be difficult to reach them: 210-207-4738. Please note that this page contains most, but NOT all, of San Antonio's animal laws. Click through any link to read the entire Chapter 5 - ANIMALS city code.

These are the current San Antonio animal laws last updated by the city of San Antonio on June 30, 2015.

🐈 🐩 CURRENT 2017 SAN ANTONIO ANIMAL LAWS CODE🐕🐰

San Antonio, Texas, Code of Ordinances, Part II, Chapter 5: ANIMALS.

*Texas Dog Chaining Law here*

ARTICLE I. – IN GENERAL
Sec. 5-1. Definitions. <– See link.

Sec. 5-2. Animal care services facility; erection, maintenance, care of animals; euthanasia service.
(a) There shall be erected and maintained, under the supervision of the director, a suitable building and kennels, to be known as the animal care services facility, for the confinement of all animals seized, impounded or surrendered pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. The animal care services facility shall be kept in a sanitary condition, and all animals taken up and impounded therein shall be properly fed and provided water. All animals shall be treated in a humane manner while under the custody of the department. The department or its designee shall be considered the designated caretaker of all impounded animals immediately upon intake at the facility.
(b) Upon payment of the applicable fee, if any, the animal care services facility will provide euthanasia of dogs, cats, and other small animals upon the signed request of an owner who resides within the city and residents of unincorporated Bexar County as long as the city and county maintain a joint animal control program through contractual agreement.
(c) The sale of live animals from the animal care services facility for research and pound seizures is prohibited.

Sec. 5-3. Prohibiting sale of baby chicks, ducklings or other fowl and rabbits.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell or offer for sale, barter, lease, rent or give away on the condition that some other item is purchased, bartered, leased, or rented, any baby chicks, ducklings, other fowl less than three (3) weeks old, or rabbits less than eight (8) weeks old; except that this chapter shall not be construed as to prohibit the sale or display of such baby chicks, ducklings, or other fowl in proper breeder facilities or hatcheries or to prohibit the sale or display of such baby chicks, ducklings, or other fowl in stores engaged in the business of selling the same to be raised for commercial purposes.
(b) It shall be unlawful to color, dye, stain, or otherwise change the natural color of any baby chicks, ducklings, or other fowl or rabbits or to possess for the purpose of sale any baby chicks, ducklings, or other fowl or rabbits which have been so colored.

Sec. 5-4. – Cruelty to animals.

(a) Cruelty to nonlivestock and livestock animals, excluding uncaptured wild living creatures, is a violation of the Texas Penal Code and depending on the circumstances, is a class A misdemeanor, state jail felony, or a felony of the third degree. (b) It shall be a violation of this Code for a person to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly beat, cruelly treat, overload or otherwise abuse any uncaptured wild living creature anywhere in the city. A violation of this subsection is punishable as described in Section 5-21 (c) Animal care officials shall liberally utilize the authority granted by V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 821.022 to seize and impound any animal that has been or is being cruelly treated. If the investigating animal care officer or cruelty investigator has reason to believe that an animal has been or is being cruelly treated, pending a hearing before any justice of the peace of Bexar County, Texas or any municipal court judge on the issues of cruelty and disposition of the animal, the seizure of the subject animal prior to receiving a warrant is hereby authorized if such a delay endangers the life of the animal, or if it would unreasonably prolong the suffering of the animal needing immediate attention.

Sec. 5-5. Killing animals in a public place.
It shall be unlawful for any person to wound or kill any cattle, horse, sheep, swine or goats of any description, whether wild or domestic, in any public place within the city.

Sec. 5-6. – Standard of care.
An owner, keeper or temporary owner of an animal is required to provide his animals with humane care and treatment as follows:

  1. Access to an adequate supply of fresh air;
  2. Species-specific food;
  3. Fresh water;
  4. Exercise;
  5. Shelter, as defined by this Code; and
  6. Veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering.

Sec. 5-7. Ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal.
It shall be unlawful for the owner of an animal, or a person charged with custody or care of an animal, to surgically alter an animal, including, but not limited to ear cropping, tail docking, and dewclaw removal, except when done by a licensed veterinarian.

Sec. 5-8. Reporting motor vehicle animal strikes.
Any person who, as the operator of a motor vehicle, strikes a domestic animal, livestock, or any wild animal over five (5) pounds in weight, shall at once report the accident to the city customer services/311 department.

Sec. 5-9. Flooring standards for animal housing.
It shall be unlawful to house any animal on a surface that permits the feet or any portion of the foot to pass through any opening. The floor must be constructed in a manner that protects the animal’s feet and legs from injury.

Sec. 5-10. – Prohibiting giving away animals as prizes or inducements.
It shall be unlawful for any person to give away, or offer to give away, any live animal as a prize for, or as an inducement to enter, any contest, game or other competition, or as an inducement to enter a place of amusement; or offer such animal as an incentive to enter into any business agreement whereby the offer was for the purpose of attracting trade.

Sec. 5-11. – Prohibiting selling, displaying animals on roadside, garage sales, flea markets and festivals.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, trade, barter, lease, rent, or give away, any animal on any roadside, public right-of-way, commercial parking lot, garage sale, flea market, festival, park, community center or outdoor public place. (b) It shall be unlawful for any person to display for a commercial purpose any animal on any roadside, public right-of-way, commercial parking lot, garage sale, flea market festival, park, community center or outdoor public place.

san antonio animal laws exposure to poisons

Poisons meant for rodents can also kill pets.

Sec. 5-12. – Exposing animals to poisonous substances.
(a) No person shall expose any known poisonous substance, whether mixed with food or not, so that the same may be attractive to any warm-blooded animal or human; except that it shall not be unlawful for a person to expose, on his own property or with permission of the property owner, commercially available rat poison or other pesticides appropriately placed in accordance with the labeling directions. (b) It shall be sufficient to constitute a violation under this section that the poisonous substance was attractively exposed by such person in such a manner that the same may have been eaten, or was in fact eaten, by any warm blooded animal or human; no intent or further culpable mental state shall be required to prove a prima facie violation.

Sec. 5-13. Traps with holding mechanisms prohibited; exceptions.
(a) No person shall set up or allow to be set up on his property steel jaw traps, spring traps with teeth or perforated edges on the holding mechanism, snares, or any type of trap with a holding mechanism designed in such a fashion as to reasonably ensure the cutting, slicing, tearing or otherwise traumatizing of the entrapped prey, for the purpose of ensnaring domestic or wild animals within the city limits, unless the use of such traps is specifically deemed necessary by the director of health in or for the control of communicable disease. This section is not to be construed to include those traps designed to kill common rodents, i.e., rats, mice, gophers and groundhogs; except that the owner is responsible for taking care that any of the above said “rodent” traps are not placed or used on or about his property in such a manner as to reasonably ensure the trapping of any other domesticated or wild animal, or of a human.

(b) It shall be a prima facie violation of this section that the traps proscribed in this section were, in fact, set up by the person in question, or were allowed to be set up by the person in question; no intent or further culpable mental state shall be required to prove such a prima facie violation.

Sec. 5-14. Animal traps without holding mechanism.
A person may set up on his own property humane traps used to capture dogs, cats, and other small animals alive which must be sheltered and shall be checked at least once every two (2) hours or every eight (8) hours if left overnight by the individual setting the trap. Humane care shall be provided for any trapped animals including the provision of food, water, and protection from extremes of the environment including heat, cold, and precipitation. Trapped dogs or cats bearing identification and/or city registration shall be turned over to the department or the animal’s owner.

Sec. 5-15. – Safety of animals in motor vehicles.
(a) No person shall transport or carry on any public roadway any animal in a motor vehicle unless the animal is safely enclosed within the vehicle; and if traveling in an unenclosed vehicle (including, but not limited to convertibles, pick-up trucks, jeeps, and flatbed trucks), the animal shall be confined by a vented container or cage, or by chain, rope or other device cross-tied to prevent the animal from falling or jumping from the motor vehicle or from strangling on a single leash. (b) No person shall leave any animal in any standing or parked vehicle in such a way as to endanger the animal’s health or safety. Any animal care officer or police officer is authorized to use reasonable force, including the breaking of a side window, to remove an animal from a vehicle whenever it appears the animal’s health or safety is endangered, and said neglected or endangered animal shall be impounded.

Sec. 5-16. Pet shop requirements. <— See the link for this code.

Sec. 5-17. Commercial boarding kennel. <— See the link for this code.

Sec. 5-18. Animal waste; sanitation standards.
(a) All animals shall be kept in a sanitary manner. Animal owners shall collect and dispose of animal waste by flushing it down a commode, by burial at least six (6) inches below the surface of the ground, or by placing it in a disposable container, sealing the container, and disposing of it as household garbage. Livestock standings shall be constructed of concrete, compacted caliche or other equally impervious material that can be easily cleaned where bovines, equines, swine, goats or sheep are kept; or any other livestock when kept for commercial purposes. Such standings shall be located under the roofed areas and shall be the size of the roofed areas. All manure and other animal wastes from livestock shall be removed from pens, corrals or standings at least once each day. This material shall be deposited in a manure storage bin of concrete or metal construction and shall be provided with a fly-tight lid. Such manure and other animal wastes shall be removed from this bin at least once each week to a disposal site approved by the director.
(b) No animal owner shall allow the accumulation of animal waste on any premises in a quantity sufficient to create an odor offensive to a person of normal sensibilities standing on any adjacent property not owned or controlled by the subject animal’s owner, or which creates a condition conducive to the breeding of flies or other pests. It shall be unlawful to permit or allow fly breeding on premises on which livestock are kept, and permitting or allowing such shall authorize the denial, suspension or revocation of a permit by the director. Livestock owners shall have and maintain a fly control program.
(c) The accumulation of animal waste on any premises so as to create a stench or harborage for flies or other pests is hereby declared to be a public nuisance. Upon delivery of a written “Notice to Clean” by the director of health, animal care services or housing and neighborhood services or their representatives, an animal owner or any adult occupant of the premises identified in said notice shall abate the therein described public nuisance on the premises within twenty-four (24) hours. Delivery shall be accomplished either by hand to the animal owner or keeper or any adult occupant of the residence, or by posting in a conspicuous place on the main entrance fence gate of the premises or main entrance door of the structure on the premises, or by certified mail, return receipt requested.
(d) The director of health, the director of animal care services and the director of housing and neighborhood services are separately authorized and empowered to enforce the provisions of this section, and may summarily abate and remove any immediate public health and safety hazard due to the presence of animals by declaring the conditions to be an immediate public health hazard and public nuisance, and shall execute an administrative order that the premises be cleaned to city health code standards by the city or its contractor within twenty-four (24) hours. All three (3) said directors are each individually authorized to petition a justice or municipal court for a court order for the seizure of a particularly described animal or all animals kept on the subject premises to be impounded and cared for as abused or neglected animals pending a hearing before the court in accordance with V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 821.022.

Sec. 5-19. – Leash and pooper scooper required.
An animal owner or keeper shall not walk an animal without a leash restraint, and shall not guide or take animals onto the yards or driveways of property not owned, leased or occupied by the animal owner for the purpose of allowing the animal to defecate, but shall keep the animal in the public right-of-way, and shall carry a container and implement for the sanitary removal of the animal’s fecal matter from the public sidewalk and public right-of-way adjacent to any property with a structure or other improvements thereon.

Sec. 5-20. – Fastening animals with rope or chain; choker collar.
(a) No animal shall be hitched, tied or fastened by any rope, chain or cord that is directly attached to the animal’s neck. Animals that must be tied, hitched or fastened to restrain them must wear a properly fitted collar or harness made of leather or nylon, not of the choker type. This does not prohibit the proper use of choker collars in the training of animals. The tying device shall be attached to the animal’s collar or harness and shall be at least ten (10) feet in length and must have a swivel device on the anchor and collar end to prevent tangling.
(b) No person shall chain their dog using a collar exceeding one and one-half (1½) inches wide for any dog weighing less than sixty (60) pounds. Dogs weighing sixty (60) pounds or more shall not be tethered using a collar exceeding two (2) inches in width.
(c) An animal that is tethered must have access to adequate shelter at all times.
(d) A person shall not chain or tether a dog with a chain or tether that weighs more than one-eighth (⅛) of the dog’s body weight.
(e) No person shall tether their female dog while the dog is in estrus.
(f) Leaving a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog’s movement in the case of extreme weather conditions, including conditions in which the actual or effective outdoor temperature is below thirty-two (32) degrees Fahrenheit; a heat advisory has been issued by a local or state authority or jurisdiction; or a hurricane, tropical storm, or tornado warning has been issued for the jurisdiction by the National Weather Service is a state law violation punishable by fine and/or jail time in accordance with the Texas Health and Safety Code.

Sec. 5-21. – Unlawful acts; criminal penalties; civil remedies.
(a) Unless otherwise specifically provided for in this chapter, if it is found that a person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly violated any provision of this chapter, then upon conviction a person shall be fined an amount not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) and not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) except that, in the event a person has once previously been convicted under this chapter, the person shall be fined an amount not less than two hundred dollars ($200.00) and shall be fined not less than three hundred dollars ($300.00) for a third conviction and for each conviction thereafter.
(b) If it is found that a person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly violated sections 5-4, 5-5, 5-7, 5-8 and 5-80 then upon conviction a person shall be punished by a minimum fine of five hundred dollars ($500.00) and a maximum fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) for a first offense, a minimum fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) and a maximum fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) for a second offense, and a fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) for a third and subsequent offense.
(c) Nothing in this section shall limit the remedies available to the city in seeking to enforce the provisions of this chapter. Each day’s violation thereof shall constitute a separate offense.
(d) Where it is deemed necessary by the city manager and the director, the city attorney’s office is hereby empowered to secure injunctive relief to enforce the provisions of this chapter. This shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, the criminal penalties provided for in this chapter.

ARTICLE IV. – DANGEROUS AND AGGRESSIVE DOGS
Sec. 5-75. – Dangerous dogs. Dangerous dogs shall be defined in accordance with V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code ch. 822, subch. D as referenced below and shall be determined and regulated in accordance with said subchapter.
Dangerous dog means a dog that:
(1) Makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the animal was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the animal from leaving the enclosure on its own;
(2) Commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the animal was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the animal from leaving the enclosure on its own and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the animal will attack and cause bodily injury to that person.

Sec. 5-76. – Investigation, seizure and confinement of alleged dangerous dog.
(a) Upon receipt of a sworn affidavit of complaint, signed by one (1) or more individuals before an individual authorized by law to make sworn statements, the department shall investigate the complaint. The complaint shall contain a description of the incident involving an alleged dangerous dog, as defined above, the date and location of the incident, the name of the owner of the dog, the address of the owner, and a description of the dog(s) involved in the incident. Said investigation may include discussing the incident with the owner/keeper of the dog. The owner/keeper of the dog shall have the right to provide an affidavit or statement concerning his own dog.
(b) After receiving a sworn affidavit of complaint and upon making a decision that seizure is a reasonable precaution to insure the health and safety of people and/or animals nearby, the director or his designee may order the immediate seizure and impound of the dog. An administrative search warrant shall be obtained from any municipal court magistrate to enter onto private property to search for a dog which is allegedly dangerous or has been previously determined to be dangerous, if permission to enter the subject premises is denied by a person in lawful possession. If the dog cannot be safely approached, a tranquilizer projector may be used by department personnel. The cost of securing said dog(s) shall be borne by the owner. If a dog is determined to be dangerous, it will remain in confinement as directed by the director. A dog that has been determined to be dangerous cannot be released back to the owner until the owner is able to demonstrate his ability to comply with all the requirements for dangerous dogs as outlined in section 5-80.
(c) An animal care officer may impound an alleged dangerous dog if the officer has cause to believe that a dog is dangerous as defined above.
(d) The director or assistant director shall determine whether a dog is dangerous. Within five (5) working days after the dog is deemed dangerous, the department will notify the owner of the dog, of the dangerous dog determination, by certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice shall include the reason for the allegation, and all requirements for owners of a dog determined to be dangerous as set out in section 5-80.

Sec. 5-77. – Payment for cost of confinement.
(a) The owner of a dog impounded by the department must pay the costs of care of the dog while it is in the custody of the department prior to the release of the dog to the owner. Reasonable expenses for this care include, but are not limited to the cost of housing, feeding, emergency veterinary medical care, immunizations and routine veterinary medical care for the dog.
(b) If a dog is held in impoundment by the department for more than thirty (30) days, the owner of the dog must pay the actual costs accrued for the first thirty (30) days of impoundment, and every thirty (30) days thereafter until the matter for holding the dog has been finalized. The department will mail a notice and statement of costs to the owner of the dog at the address on file with the department. All costs must be paid within a maximum of three (3) business days following the receipt of the notice and statement. If the costs have not been paid within the allotted three (3) business days, this will be considered a voluntary relinquishment of the dog by the owner and the dog shall immediately become the property of the city.
(c) Costs must be paid to the department in cash or certified funds only. The costs shall be deposited into the city’s general trust fund, in a subaccount specific for each case.

Sec. 5-78. – Appeal of dangerous dog determination to municipal court.
(a) V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 822.0421(b) provides for the appeal of a dangerous dog determination to municipal court.
(b) An owner may appeal a dangerous dog determination by filing a written notice of appeal to municipal court within fifteen (15) days after receiving notice of the determination.
(c) A municipal court judge shall conduct a hearing to determine whether the preponderance of the evidence supports the dangerous dog determination.
(d) The municipal court judge shall be the finder of fact.
(e) At the conclusion of the hearing, the municipal court judge may affirm or reverse the dangerous dog determination.
(f) The department shall retain custody and care of the dog until all appeals are exhausted, unless the owner complies with subsection 5-80(a).
(g) An owner may appeal the decision of the municipal court in the manner provided for the appeal of cases from municipal court.
(h) The municipal court judge may compel the attendance of the complainant, any known witnesses, the dog owner against whom the complaint was filed, and the director or his representative who investigated. The city shall be represented by the city attorney or an assistant city attorney in all appeals of a dangerous dog determination.

Sec. 5-79. – Hearing to determine compliance with dangerous dog requirements.
(a) V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 822.0423 provides that a municipal court may conduct a hearing to determine whether the owner of a dangerous dog has complied with the requirements for the owner of a dangerous dog.
(b) Upon an application from any person, the municipal court shall conduct a hearing to determine compliance with dangerous dog requirements.
(c) A municipal court judge shall conduct a hearing to determine whether the preponderance of the evidence supports the allegation that the owner has failed to comply with dangerous dog requirements.
(d) The municipal court judge shall be the finder of fact.
(e) At the conclusion of the hearing, if the municipal court judge finds that the owner has failed to comply with the dangerous dog requirements, the judge shall order the seizure of the dog in accordance with V.T.C.A., Health and Safety Code § 822.042.
(f) An owner or the person who filed the application for the hearing may appeal the decision of the municipal court in the manner provided for the appeal of cases from municipal court.
(g) The municipal court judge may compel the attendance of the applicant, any known witnesses, the dog owner against whom the application was filed, and the director or his representative who investigated. Any interested party, including the city attorney or an assistant city attorney, may present evidence at the hearing.

Sec. 5-80. – Requirements of dangerous dog owners.
(a) An owner of a dog determined to be dangerous, must comply with all of the following ten (10) requirements before the subject dog can be released to the owner by the director. The director must, however, release the dog to the owner if a state licensed veterinarian with a facility located within the city verifies, upon being contacted by a city veterinarian or director, that the owner has arranged for the required surgery of the dangerous dog to comply with this article, and if necessary, a city veterinarian has implanted the required registered microchip in the dog, and has inspected the residence where the dog is to be kept, and is satisfied that the following requirements which could have already been complied with have been complied with by the owner:
(1) The dog must be registered with the department and shall annually obtain a dangerous dog permit;
(2) The dangerous dog shall at all times wear a collar approved by the department visible at fifty (50) feet so that the dog can be identified as a dangerous dog. The department is authorized to charge the dog owner a fee to cover the cost of this collar;
(3) The dangerous dog must be kept in an enclosure as defined in section 5-1 of this chapter;
(4) The owner must present to the department a certificate of public liability insurance in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) to cover any injuries caused by the dangerous dog. The insurance shall be kept in effect continuously and shall not be cancelled unless the dog is no longer kept by the insured owner;
(5) The dangerous dog, when taken outside the enclosure, must be securely muzzled in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog nor interfere with its vision or respiration, but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal; and the dangerous dog must be restrained by a sturdy leash six (6) feet in length. The department is authorized to charge the dog owner a fee to cover the cost of this leash;
(6) The owner shall post a sign on his premises warning that there is a dangerous dog on the property. This sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the public street or highway. In addition, the department shall design and produce a uniform dangerous dog symbol or decal, understandable by small children which shall be made available at cost to the public. Such symbol or decal must be displayed on or about the sign;
(7) If the dog does not have a registered microchip, the owner shall authorize the department to implant a registered microchip beneath the skin of the dangerous dog for positive identification of the animal;
(8) The dangerous dog must be spayed or neutered;
(9) The owner must attend a class on responsible pet ownership conducted by the department; and
(10) The owner must allow an annual inspection of the residence where the dog is kept to ensure continued compliance with all requirements of this section. More frequent inspections may be conducted in response to specific complaints regarding non-compliance with this section.
(b) If the owner of a dog determined to be dangerous is unable or unwilling to comply with the ownership requirements listed above at anytime, the dog must be euthanized by an animal shelter, animal care agency, licensed veterinarian or the department. A dog determined to be dangerous under this chapter shall not be offered for adoption, rescue or sale.

Sec. 5-81. – Notification of change of status.
The owner/keeper of a dangerous dog shall notify the director or his designee within twenty-four (24) hours if their dangerous dog is loose, unconfined, has attacked another animal, has attacked a person, or has died. If an owner/keeper of a dangerous dog gives the dangerous dog away, the owner/keeper shall within twenty-four (24) hours notify the director or his designee that said dog has been given away and provide the director or his designee the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner/keeper. Prior to taking possession of the dog, the new owner/keeper must comply with the requirements of owners of dangerous dogs and provide a sworn statement to the director or his designee that they will continue to comply with all of the requirements of owners of dangerous dogs for as long as the owner/keeper has possession of the dog.

Sec. 5-82. – Dangerous dog violations.
(a) A person commits an offense under state law, pursuant to the Texas Health and Safety Code, if the person is the owner of a dangerous dog and the dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person outside the dog’s enclosure and causes bodily injury to the other person.
(b) It shall be a violation of this chapter for an owner or keeper to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly fail to prevent a dangerous dog, from killing or wounding, or assisting in the killing or wounding of any domestic animal belonging to or in the possession of another person, or for an owner or keeper to fail to prevent a dangerous dog from attacking, assaulting, biting or otherwise injuring any person or assisting in the attack, assault, biting, or other injury of any person whether out of or within the enclosure of the owner or keeper, and whether or not such dangerous dog was on a leash or securely muzzled or whether or not the dangerous dog escaped without the knowledge or consent of the owner or keeper. If a person is found guilty of an offense under this section, the court may order the dangerous dog destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.
(c) It shall be a violation of this chapter for the owner or keeper of a dangerous dog to:
(1) Fail to comply with any of the requirements of section 5-80 as required;
(2) Fail to notify the department of a change of status as set out in section 5-81; or
(3) Fail to keep the dog confined at no cost to the city during the hearing process.
(d) The provisions under this section shall not apply to any law enforcement agency where a dog is being used for law enforcement.
(e) A rebuttable presumption shall exist that the owner or keeper knowingly allowed a dangerous dog to be kept in inadequate confinement in any criminal complaint filed under subsection (b).

Sec. 5-83. – Aggressive dogs; levels defined. Classification of a dog as aggressive shall be based upon specific behaviors exhibited by the dog. For purposes of this chapter, behaviors establishing various levels of aggressive dogs are the following:
(1) Level 1 behavior is established if:
a. A dog while in the enclosure in which the animal was being kept and acts to cause a person to reasonably believe that the animal will attack and cause bodily injury to that person; or
b. A dog at large is found to menace, chase, display threatening or aggressive behavior or otherwise threaten or endanger the safety of a domestic animal.
(2) Level 2 behavior is established if a dog, while at large, causes physical injury to any domestic animal or livestock.
(3) Level 3 behavior is established if:
a. A dog, while at large, kills or causes the death of any domestic animal or livestock; or
b. A dog classified as a level 2 aggressive dog that repeats the behavior in subsection (2) after the owner or keeper receives notice of the level 2 classification.
(4)]Notwithstanding subsections (1), (2), and (3), the director shall have discretionary authority to refrain from classifying a dog as aggressive, even if the dog has engaged in the behaviors specified in subsections (1), (2), and (3), if the director determines that the behavior was the result of the victim abusing or tormenting the dog or was directed towards a trespasser or other similar mitigating or extenuating circumstances.

Sec. 5-84. – Aggressive dogs; appeals; restrictions pending appeal.
(a) The director shall have authority to determine whether any dog has engaged in the behaviors specified in section 5-83. This determination may be based upon an investigation that includes observation of and testimony about the dog’s behavior, including the dog’s upbringing and the owner’s or keeper’s control of the dog, and other relevant evidence as determined by the director. These observations and testimony can be provided by animal care officers or by other witnesses who personally observed the behavior. They shall sign an affidavit attesting to the observed behavior and agree to provide testimony regarding the dog’s behavior if necessary.
(b) The director shall have the discretion to increase or decrease a classified dog’s restrictions based upon relevant circumstances.
(c) The director shall give the dog’s owner or keeper written notice by certified mail or personal service of the dog’s specified behavior, of the dog’s classification as aggressive, and of the restrictions applicable to that dog by reason of its classification. If the owner or keeper denies that the behavior in question occurred, the owner or keeper may appeal the director’s decision to the animal determination hearing officer.
(d) Upon receipt of notice of the dog’s classification as a level 1, 2, or 3 aggressive dog pursuant to subsection (c), the owner or keeper shall comply with the restrictions specified in the notice unless reversed on appeal. Failure to comply with the specified restrictions shall be a violation of this chapter for which a fine can be imposed. Additionally, the director shall have authority to impound the dog pending completion of all appeals.
(e) If the director’s decision or the animal determination hearing officer’s decision finds that a dog has engaged in aggressive behavior, the dog may be impounded pending the completion of any appeals.
(f) Any dog classified as a level 3, that is found to have repeated level 3 behavior as defined under this code, shall be impounded if not already impounded. The dog shall not be released to the owner or be made available for adoption until either potential recipient of the dog has established arrangements for accommodating the animal consistent with all the security and safety requirements ordered by the director or the animal determination hearing officer.

Sec. 5-85. – Aggressive dogs hearings; notice of hearings; appeal.
(a) Notice of appeal of a classification of aggressive dog must be given to the director within fifteen (15) working days of the date the dog is classified as aggressive by the director. The director or his designee shall set an aggressive animal hearing. The owner shall be notified of said hearing by certified mail, return receipt requested. Failure of the owner of the animal to appear at the hearing shall result in a final classification with no further appeal. The owner may be represented by counsel.
(b) The animal determination hearing officer shall determine whether, by a preponderance of the evidence, the animal is aggressive as defined in this chapter based upon evidence, affidavits, and testimony presented at the time of the hearing by the owner, witnesses to any incident which may be germane to such a determination, department personnel, police or any other person possessing information pertinent to such determination. The owner may cross examine witnesses. A record of the hearing shall be kept. The animal determination hearing officer shall issue written factual findings and a determination as to whether the dog is aggressive within five (5) working days after the hearing. The owner shall be notified of the animal determination hearing officer’s findings and determination by certified mail, return receipt requested.
(c) The owner of the dog determined to be aggressive by the animal determination hearing officer has the right to appeal the determination to municipal court by submitting written notice to the director within five (5) working days of receiving the animal determination hearing officer’s determination. Failure to appeal within the time allotted shall result in the animal determination hearing officer’s determination as final.
(d) A municipal court judge shall sit as the administrative appeal hearing officer. The administrative appeal hearing officer shall apply a pure substantial evidence review of the aggressive dog hearing. The administrative appeal hearing officer shall consider only the factual record made at the aggressive dog hearing and decide if the determination of the animal determination hearing officer is reasonably supported by substantial evidence. In addition, the administrative appeal hearing officer is permitted to consider whether the aggressive dog hearing satisfied the requirements of due process. The administrative appeal hearing officer shall prepare a written memorandum of findings and declare the animal determination hearing officer’s determination either affirmed or reversed.

Sec. 5-86. – Regulation of aggressive dogs.
In addition to the other requirements of this chapter, the owner or keeper of an aggressive dog shall comply with the following conditions:
(1) Dogs classified as level 1 dogs shall be restrained, so as not to be at large, by a physical device or structure, in a manner that prevents the dog from reaching any public sidewalk, or adjoining property and must be located so as not to interfere with the public’s legal access to the owner’s or keeper’s premises whenever that dog is outside the owner’s or keeper’s home and not on a leash. The director may order sterilization of the animal.
(2) Dogs classified as level 2 dogs shall be confined within a secure enclosure whenever the dog is not on a leash. The secure enclosure must be located so as not to interfere with the public’s legal access to the owner’s or keeper’s premises. In addition, the director may require the owner or keeper to obtain and maintain proof of public liability insurance in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00). In addition, the owner or keeper may be required to complete a responsible pet ownership program as prescribed by the director or the animal determination hearing officer. The director may order sterilization of the animal.
(3) Dogs classified as level 3 dogs shall be confined within a secure enclosure whenever the dog is not on a leash. The secure enclosure must be located so as not to interfere with the public’s legal access to the owner’s or keeper’s premises, and the owner or keeper shall post warning signs, which are provided by the director, on the premises where the dog is kept, in conformance with rules to be adopted by the director. In addition, the director may require the owner or keeper to obtain and maintain proof of public liability insurance in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00). The owner or keeper shall not permit the dog to be off the owner’s or keeper’s premises unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by an adequate leash and under the control of a capable person. In addition, the director may require the owner or keeper to satisfactorily complete a pet ownership program. The director may order sterilization of the animal.
(4) To insure correct identification, all dogs that have been classified as aggressive shall be microchipped and photographed, and may be fitted with a special tag or collar determined by the director at the owner’s expense. The director shall adopt rules specifying the type of required identification.
(5) The animal must have a registered microchip and obtain an annual aggressive dog permit from the department.
(6) The owner or keeper of a level 3 aggressive dog shall not permit the warning sign to be removed from the secure enclosure. The owner or keeper of any aggressive dog shall not permit the special tag or collar to be removed from the dog. The owner or keeper of an aggressive dog shall not permit the dog to be moved to a new address or change owners or keepers without providing the director with ten (10) days’ prior written notification.

Sec. 5-87. – Declassification of aggressive dogs.
Declassification will be automatic pursuant to this section.
(1) The following conditions must be met:
a. Level 1 or level 2 dogs have been classified for one (1) year without further incident, and two (2) years for level 3 dogs;
b. There have been no violations of the specified regulations; and
c. If ordered by the director or hearings officer at the time of classification:
1. The owner or keeper provides the director with written certification of satisfactory completion of obedience training for the aggressive dog with the owner or keeper, and
2. The owner or keeper to provides the director with written verification that the classified dog has been sterilized from a licensed veterinarian.
(2) When the owner or keeper of an aggressive dog meets all of the conditions in this chapter, the restrictions for level 1 and level 2 classified dogs may be removed. Restrictions for level 3 may be removed, with the exception of the secure enclosure.

ARTICLE V. – ANIMAL MICROCHIPPING AND PERMITS
Sec. 5-100. – Dog and cat microchipping required.
(a) The owner or keeper of any dog or cat must have the animal implanted with a registered microchip before the animal attains four (4) months of age. A dog or cat is exempt from this requirement if the dog or cat is determined to be medically unsuitable for microchipping by a licensed veterinarian in writing. If a dog or cat is determined to be medically unsuitable for microchipping, the owner shall have the dog or cat permanently marked with an identifying tattoo by a licensed veterinarian. Proof of medical unsuitability for microchipping along with the identifying tattoo number and owner’s or keeper’s name, address and telephone number must be provided to the Department within thirty (30) days of tattooing. If there is a change in contact information, the owner or keeper of a tattooed dog or cat shall update contact information with the Department within thirty (30) days of the date of the change in contact information. If there is a change in ownership of a tattooed dog or cat, the initial owner or keeper shall be responsible for notifying the Department of the change within thirty (30) days of the date of change in ownership. The new owner or keeper shall be responsible for providing the Department with the new owner’s or keeper’s name, address and telephone number within thirty (30) days after the change in ownership.
(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:
(1) The dog or cat owner is a nonresident of this city and is keeping the subject pet in the city for fewer than sixty (60) days;
(2) The dog or cat owner has been a resident of this city for fewer than thirty (30) days; or
(3) The dog or cat had been abandoned or lost and the temporary owner has had the dog or cat for fewer than thirty (30) days.

Sec. 5-101. – Validity of previously issued license. A currently valid dog or cat license shall continue to be valid until its expiration. On or before its expiration, the owner shall have the animal implanted with a registered microchip in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

Sec. 5-102. – Maintaining current microchip registration.
(a) The owner or keeper of a dog or cat shall maintain current registration with a microchip registration company.
(b) If there is a change in contact information of an owner or keeper of a registered microchipped dog or cat, the owner or keeper shall update contact information, including new address or telephone number, with the microchip registration company within thirty (30) days of the date of the change in contact information.
(c) If there is a change in ownership of a registered dog or cat, the initial owner or keeper shall be responsible for ensuring that the microchip is no longer registered in the initial owner’s or keeper’s name within thirty (30) days of the date of change in ownership. The new owner or keeper shall be responsible for re-registering the microchip to include any new address and telephone number and have the registration information transferred to the new owner’s or keeper’s name within thirty (30) days after the change in ownership.

Sec. 5-103. – Wearing tags, exception.
(a) Dogs must wear a tag with the registered microchip number at all times while outdoors; except that dogs which are kept for show or exhibition purposes are not required to wear such a tag as long as the dogs are otherwise under restraint.
(b) Cats shall not be required to wear a tag with the registered microchip number on a collar due to the danger of accidental strangulation.

Sec. 5-104. – Permits when issued. A permit shall be issued after payment of the applicable fee, if any. The director is authorized to reduce or waive any fee provided for in this chapter.

Sec. 5-105. – Nontransferability. No person may use any pet dog’s or cat’s registered microchip number for any animal other than the one for which it was issued.

Sec. 5-106. – Review upon frequent violations. The director shall review any and all dog or cat registrations for any animal owners against whom four (4) or more convictions have been obtained within a period of one (1) year under the provisions of this chapter and shall notify the subject animal owner of said convictions and possible seizure and impoundment if, after the director or his appointed representative conducts an administrative hearing, and determines that the public health and safety are at risk while the pet owner or any member of this household has possession or control of the subject animals. Certified mail notice of the time and place of said hearing shall be mailed to the last known address of the pet owner at least ten (10) days prior to said hearing

san antonio animal laws stray pets dumped animals

This mom was dumped at a Jack in the Box along with her litter of unwanted puppies.

Sec. 5-107. – Litter permit. Any person whose female dog or cat has a litter must obtain a litter permit prior to or within ten (10) business days of the litter’s birth.

  1. The issuance of a permit authorizes the whelping of no more than one (1) litter per female dog or cat in any 12-month period.
  2.  If a person fails to obtain a permit after notice, then the department shall be authorized to impound the female dog or cat and the animal litter.
  3. The litter permit number shall be prominently displayed in all advertisements, notices, or displays of the litter for sale or trade or offers to give away any members of the litter.
  4. No person may offer any puppy or kitten under the age of eight (8) weeks for sale, trade or other compensation or for free giveaway (except a puppy or kitten, or litter or litters taken to the department, or any tax-exempt nonprofit organization founded for the purpose of providing humane sanctuary or shelter for abandoned or unwanted animals, or any recognized rescue organization which is currently registered with the department).
  5. This section does not apply to caretakers of feral cat colonies and rescuers affiliated with recognized rescue organizations registered with the department.

Sec. 5-108. – Seller’s permit. Any person who sells or offers for sale one (1) or more puppies must obtain a seller’s permit.

  1. Each seller’s permit shall be valid for one (1) year. Each permit applicant shall be required to take an educational course as part of the permit application process.
  2. The seller’s permit number shall be prominently displayed in all advertisements, notices, or displays for sale of the puppies.
  3. A seller’s permit holder shall provide a purchaser a written statement which shall include a guarantee of good health for a period of not less than two (2) weeks with a recommendation to have the animal examined by a licensed veterinarian.
  4. A person who obtains a litter permit or pet shop license shall not be required to obtain a seller’s permit under this section.
  5. If a person fails to obtain a permit after notice, then the department shall be authorized to impound the puppies.

Sec. 5-109. – Animal limits; excess animal permit.
(a) The total number of domestic fowl and livestock allowed at a residence is five (5) which may include:
(1) Up to three (3) domestic fowl, and
(2) Up to two (2) animals from the following classes of livestock:
a. Equines;
b. Bovines;
c. Sheep;
d. Goats; and
e. Llamas.

(b) All livestock must be enclosed in a pen the nearest point being at least one hundred (100) feet from any dwelling or business building owned or occupied by any person other than the owner. All domestic fowl must be kept in an enclosure. An owner must comply with the following with regard to domestic fowl and livestock:
(1) The owner must have adequate facilities to house the livestock and domestic fowl and ensure adequate sanitation.
(2) The livestock and domestic fowl must be kept housed or confined in a manner that does not allow them to create a nuisance.
(3) Sanitation must be addressed in a manner that prevents the attraction of pests.

(c) If an owner desires to exceed the maximum number of domestic fowl or livestock specified in subsection (a), an owner must make an application for an excess animal permit with the department which shall be valid for one (1) year. The criteria for evaluating the application for an excess animal permit shall be those listed in subsection (b). In addition, all domestic fowl must be kept in an enclosure not less than fifty (50) feet from any business or dwelling occupied by any person other than the owner. The facilities shall be subject to inspection by the department.

(d) A maximum number of eight (8) cats or five (5) dogs, or an aggregate number of eight (8) is permitted at a residence. In order to have more dogs and/or cats than this chapter allows at a residence, an owner must apply for an excess animal permit which shall be valid for one (1) year. The criteria used to evaluate the granting of a dog or cat permit are as follows:(1) All dogs and cats for which a permit is required must be sterilized, unless the dog (s) or cat (s) qualifies for a certified medical exception by a licensed veterinarian or is under four (4) months old.
(2) All dogs and cats must be currently vaccinated for rabies.
(3) All dogs and cats must have a registered microchip .
(4) The dogs and/or cats must not be housed exclusively outside.
(5) All dogs and cats must have a photograph of each animal attached to an animal profile sheet that will be kept on record as verification of the animals allowed in the permit. Rescuers registered with the department shall be exempt from the photograph and profile sheet requirement.
(6) If the owner of the dogs and/or cats is not the owner of the property, the permission of the property owner must be obtained before a permit application will be processed.
(7) A check will be made to determine if there are any previous valid complaints. A previous valid complaint can be grounds for the denial of a permit request.
(8) The requestor must have adequate property or facilities to ensure the dogs and/or cats do not disturb any neighbors. The facilities shall be subject to inspection by the department.

(e) The total number of rabbits allowed at a residence is ten (10). An owner must comply with the following with regard to rabbits:
(1) The owner must have adequate facilities to house the rabbits and ensure adequate sanitation.
(2) The rabbits must be kept housed or confined in a manner that does not allow them to create a nuisance.
(3) Sanitation must be addressed in a manner that prevents the attraction of pests.
If an owner desires to exceed the maximum number of rabbits specified above (ten (10) rabbits), an owner must make an application for an excess animal permit with the department which shall be valid for one (1) year. The criteria for evaluating the application for an excess animal permit shall be those listed above in subsections (1), (2) and (3). The facilities shall be subject to inspection by the department. The maximum amount of rabbits allowed with an excess animal permit is twenty-five (25).

(f) Any owner, caretaker, or other person who keeps any non-poisonous snake over three (3) feet and/or fifteen (15) pounds, in addition to complying with all federal and state laws, regulations, and permit regulations affecting such snake, shall:
(1) Keep the snake at all times in a cage or enclosure of such size and construction and in a manner as to preclude the possibility of escape. Such enclosure shall be of such size as to permit the snake reasonable freedom of movement;
(2) Keep the snake in such a manner so as not to threaten or annoy any person of normal sensitivity; and
(3) Prevent unauthorized access to the snake through adequate safeguards.

(g) Once a permit is granted, the permittee must obey all rules pertaining to pet ownership within the city and the state. Any valid violation under this chapter, including exceeding the number of animals allowed on the original permit is grounds for revocation of the permit by the department.

(h) If a permit is revoked, the permittee will have thirty (30) days to come into compliance with existing numbers limits.

(i) An owner who is denied a permit or whose permit is revoked has the right to appeal the denial or revocation by submitting written notice to the director within fifteen (15) working days of the denial or revocation. Upon the timely receipt of such written notice, the director or his designee shall schedule an animal permit hearing. The owner shall be notified of said hearing by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the hearing is not conducted with fifteen (15) working days of date the notice of appeal is received, the director shall issue the requested permit or reinstate the revoked permit. Failure of the owner of the animal to appear at the permit hearing shall result in a final denial or revocation with no further appeal. The owner may be represented by counsel.

(j) The animal permit hearing officer shall determine whether, by a preponderance of the evidence, a permit should not be denied or revoked based upon evidence, affidavits, and testimony presented at the time of the hearing by the owner, witnesses to any incident which may be germane to such a determination, department personnel, police or any other person possessing information pertinent to such determination. The owner may cross examine witnesses. A record of the hearing shall be kept. The animal permit hearing officer shall issue written factual findings and a determination as to whether the permit denial or revocation should be reversed within five (5) working days after the animal permit hearing. The owner shall be notified of the animal permit hearing officer’s findings and determination by certified mail, return receipt requested.

(k) If the animal permit hearing officer does not reverse the permit denial or revocation, the owner has the right to appeal the determination to municipal court by submitting written notice to the director within five (5) working days of receiving the animal permit hearing officer’s determination. Failure to appeal within the time allotted shall result in the animal permit hearing officer’s determination as final.

(l) A municipal court judge shall sit as the administrative appeal hearing officer. The administrative appeal hearing officer shall apply a pure substantial evidence review of the animal permit determination. The administrative appeal hearing officer shall consider only the factual record made at the animal permit hearing and decide if the determination of the animal permit hearing officer is reasonably supported by substantial evidence. In addition, the administrative appeal hearing officer is permitted to consider whether the animal permit hearing satisfied the requirements of due process. The administrative appeal hearing officer shall prepare a written memorandum of findings and declare the animal permit hearing officer’s determination either affirmed or reversed.

(m) The result of the administrative appeal hearing is final.

Sec. 5-110. – Permit required for circuses, rodeos, animal exhibits, animal shows, petting zoos and recreational animal rides; special exceptions for institutions and special attractions.
(a) Any operator of a circus, rodeo, animal exhibit, or entertainment show, or other persons desiring to bring any non-aquatic mammal into the city to use in a circus, rodeo, animal exhibit or animal show other than a dog show or a cat show, shall first submit a written request to the department for a permit and pay a permit application fee to cover the cost of inspecting the facility where the animal(s) will be kept during the event, which may be for any number of consecutive days. The permit application shall be submitted at least twenty (20) days prior to the event, and shall contain information as to the kind and number of animals involved, the reason for bringing the animal(s) to the city, and the name and address of the person or business that will keep, feed, and confine the animal(s) during their stay in the city.

(b) No person shall operate a petting zoo or recreational animal ride (which include, but are not limited to, horses, ponies, donkeys, camels, elephants or cows) within the city without first obtaining a permit which shall be valid for one (1) year. An operator of a petting zoo or recreational animal ride shall first submit a written request to the department for a permit and pay a permit application fee to cover the cost of inspecting the facility where the animal(s) will be kept and shall contain information as to the kind and number of animals involved, and the name and address of the person or business that will keep, feed, and confine the animal(s). Animals used within the city for petting zoos or recreational animal rides must be provided with all the necessities of life including air, food, water, veterinary care, exercise, and protection from the sun and other elements of nature.

(c) A permit shall not be required for any animal so long as it is owned by a governmentally owned and operated facility, publicly operated facility, a public zoological park, or bona fide medical institution or research institution.

(d) A prohibited animal brought into the city for entertainment purposes which is not approved by the director or designee, upon the order of the director or his designee, will be immediately removed from the city. If not so removed expeditiously, an animal care officer shall seize such animal if he has reason to believe the animal is not being properly fed, housed, or cared for, or is not being safely and securely confined for public safety.

(e) Animals used within the city for entertainment purposes such as rodeos and circuses must be provided with all the necessities of life including air, food, water, veterinary care, exercise, and protection from the sun and other elements of nature. A licensed veterinarian must be in attendance at all such functions. Once determined to be injured or ill by a licensed veterinarian, an animal may be returned to use only after certification as healthy by a licensed veterinarian.

(f) Nothing in this section shall authorize the director to issue a permit to a person to sell, trade, barter, lease, rent, or give away any animal on any roadside, public right-of-way, commercial parking lot, or at any garage sale, flea market or festival.

Sec. 5-111. – Pet shop license. <— See the link for this code.

Sec. 5-112. – Grooming shop license. <— See the link for this code.

Sec. 5-113. – Commercial boarding kennels license. <— See the link for this code.

Sec. 5-114. – Livestock permits.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to keep livestock in the city without first applying in writing and obtaining a permit from the director, such permit to be valid only for the location for which it was issued.
(b) A person who keeps livestock as defined in this chapter shall pay a permit fee per year for each animal.
(c) All fees payable under this chapter, for whatever purpose required, shall be paid to the city.

san antonio animal laws feral cat colonies

Small outdoor feral cat colony.

Sec. 5-115. – Cat colony permit and registration.
(a) Each cat colony will be registered by the caretakers with the department or its designee which will serve as a clearinghouse for information on current caretakers, education for new caretakers, and assistance for persons found in violation of this section. Cat colonies with eight (8) or fewer cats are not required to be registered as a cat colony.
(b) Any feral cat picked up by the department which has an appropriate ear tip will be returned to that colony unless veterinary care is required or the criteria listed in subsection (d) apply.
(c) Caretakers of feral cat colonies shall obtain a cat colony permit which shall be valid for one (1) year, and implement proper management and sterilization practices as required by the department. Any person or caretaker determined to be in violation of proper management and sterilization practices required by the department shall be issued a written warning and be allowed a period of time to come into compliance, or provide satisfactory evidence of working to achieve compliance. That period of time shall not exceed ninety (90) days from issuance of the initial warning notice. Failure to comply shall result in a violation of this chapter, which may result in the issuance of a citation.
(d) The department has the right to immediately seize and remove all, or parts of any colony for the following reasons:

  1. Public health and public safety concerns including rabies, other epizootic and certain zoonoses identified by the department of health; or
  2. Animals creating a public nuisance as defined in section 5-150

Sec. 5-116. – Revocation. All permits issued under this chapter may be revoked by the director, or his authorized representative, for violation by the holder thereof of any of the provisions of this chapter. Revocation of the permit is accomplished by mailing to the holder of such permit a written notice by certified mail stating his permit is revoked. Revocation of the permit may also be accomplished by personally delivering to the holder thereof a written notice stating his permit is revoked.

ARTICLE VI. – RABIES CONTROL
Sec. 5-125. – Required vaccination. An owner of a dog, cat or domestic ferret must have the animal vaccinated against rabies in a manner that satisfies the requirements of state law.

Sec. 5-126. – Reporting, bites, scratches; zoonotic diseases.
(a) Any veterinarian or person having knowledge of an animal having bitten, scratched or injured a person or other animal, within the city shall report the incident to the director who is also the local rabies control authority immediately.
(b) Any veterinarian or other person having knowledge of an animal diagnosed as having any reportable zoonotic disease shall report same to the director within five (5) days.
(c) The owner of such diseased or biting or scratching animal who learns of such incident shall immediately give his name and address together with the animal’s registered microchip information and date of last rabies vaccination to the person bitten or injured or to a parent or guardian of such person who is under the age of eighteen (18) years. The owner shall notify the director within twenty-four (24) hours of his name; the animal’s registered microchip information; the name of the injured person; and other information requested by the director related to the animal and injured party.
(d) If the animal care services officer is present, the owner/keeper shall immediately surrender the animal. If an animal care services officer is not present and the owner/keeper does not surrender the animal to the animal care services facility within twenty-four (24) hours of the incident occurring, the director or any appointed animal care officer shall seize and impound any animal for rabies observation upon the sworn affidavit of any person with knowledge that the animal has bitten a person or another animal. An administrative search warrant shall be obtained from any municipal court judge or other magistrate to enter onto private property to search for the biting animal if permission to enter is not given.

Sec. 5-127. – Confinement of biting, scratching animals.
(a) The owner of any animal within the city which has bitten or scratched a person so as to have caused an abrasion of the skin shall, on demand of the director or any animal care officer, immediately surrender such animal to the animal care services facility, or other approved rabies quarantine facility for observation for a period lasting not more than ten (10) days after the date of the incident, subject to the provisions of subsection (b).

(b) The owner of any animal that has bitten or scratched any person shall be allowed to assume personal responsibility for confining the animal for the observation period of ten (10) days, only under the following circumstances:
(1) Secure facilities must be available at the home of the animal’s owner, and must be approved by the director;
(2) The animal was currently vaccinated against rabies when the exposure incident occurred;
(3) The animal was not in violation of any laws or ordinances at the time of the bite; and
(4) The director, city veterinarian or a licensed veterinarian must observe the animal at least on the first and last days of the quarantine period. If the animal becomes ill during the observation period, the director must be notified by the person having possession of the animal. At the end of the observation period, the release from quarantine must be accomplished in writing by the veterinarian who will attest to the health of the animal.

(c) If an animal is believed to have rabies or has been bitten by an animal suspected of having rabies, such animal shall be quarantined for observation by a veterinarian for the appropriate period as required by state law.

(d) Violation of the observation confinement of the biting animal as provided in subsection (b) shall be just cause for seizure and confinement of the animal in the animal care facility of the city.

(e) All wild animals involved in exposure incidents including biting, scratching or any other direct exposure by physical contact will be humanely euthanized in such a manner that the brain is not mutilated. The brain shall be submitted to a Texas Department of State Health Services certified laboratory for rabies diagnosis.

Sec. 5-128. Concealment, sale of biting animal prohibited.
It shall be unlawful for any owner within the city to conceal, sell, give away or otherwise dispose of an animal that has bitten or scratched another animal or a human, or to otherwise permit the animal to be taken beyond the limits of the city after having knowledge of the animal’s having bitten or having so injured another animal or a person as to cause an abrasion of the animal’s or person’s skin, until such animal is released by the director.

Sec. 5-129. – Confinement of animals infected with or exposed to rabies.
The owner of any animal infected with rabies, or who reasonably suspects his animal of having such an infection, shall notify the police department or the animal care services facility of the fact that his animal has been infected with or exposed to rabies. The director is empowered to have such animal removed from the owner’s premises to the animal care services facility, or at the request of the owner, such animal may be placed in a veterinary hospital, and shall be placed under observation for the appropriate period as required by state law. Whether confined in the animal care services facility or a veterinary hospital, the owner shall bear the expense of the confinement.

Sec. 5-130. – Confinement at owner’s expense; payment. <— See the link for this code.
Sec. 5-131. – Release of animal subject to certification by veterinarian. <— See the link for this code.
Sec. 5-132. – Euthanization of rabid animals, wild biting animals. <— See the link for this code.
Sec. 5-133. – Impoundment of animals unclaimed after quarantine. <— See the link for this code.
Sec. 5-134. – Notification of authorities upon knowledge of rabid animal. <— See the link for this code.
Sec. 5-135. – Final disposition of rabid, nonrabid animals. <— See the link for this code.
Sec. 5-136. – Health emergencies. <— See the link for this code.
Sec. 5-137. – Joint animal vaccination drives. <— See the link for this code.

san antonio animal lawsARTICLE VII. – ANIMAL NUISANCES; IMPOUNDMENT
Sec. 5-150. – Animal nuisances. The owner or keeper of any animal in the city is responsible for the behavior and conduct of that animal at all times including the creation of a public nuisance. Violations of the following acts or omissions are public nuisances:
(a) The owner or keeper shall keep the animal (except cats) restrained at all times and insure that the animal (except cats) does not roam or run at large at will;

(b) The owner or keeper shall not keep any dog which barks or whines in such a manner, with such intensity, or with such continued duration, or keep any other animal, fowl, or bird, which makes frequent or long, continued noise, so as to annoy, distress or disturb the quiet comfort or repose of persons of normal nervous sensibilities within the vicinity of hearing thereof;

(c) The owner or keeper shall prevent his animal from biting or injuring without provocation, any animal or person;

(d) The owner or keeper shall prevent his animal from damaging or destroying public property or property other than its owner’s private property;

(e) The owner or keeper shall not keep more than the number of animals allowed under this chapter;

(f) An owner or keeper creates an animal nuisance by the keeping, frequent feeding or harboring of any poisonous or inherently dangerous or prohibited animal.

Sec. 5-151. – Outdoor cats. All outdoor cats must be spayed or neutered.

Sec. 5-152. – Misdemeanor violations by animal owners; presumptions.
(a) An animal owner commits a misdemeanor offense if by act, omission or possession he creates an animal nuisance.

(b) The following presumptions are hereby declared applicable in the prosecution of an offense pursuant to subsection (a):

  1. The filing of a complaint by two (2) or more neighbors, within a 12-month period, regarding the barking of an animal kept by its owner shall give rise to the presumption that an owner keeps an animal which barks or whines in such a manner, with such intensity, or with such continued duration so as to annoy, distress or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of persons of normal nervous sensibilities. For the purpose of this presumption, each neighbor must occupy a different residence;
  2. The fact that an animal in question has bitten or injured another animal or human being during the previous eighteen (18) months shall give rise to the presumption that the animal bites or injures other animals or human beings without provocation;
  3. The fact that an animal in question has damaged or destroyed public or private property during the last twelve (12) months shall give rise to the presumption that the animal has a propensity to destroy property.

Sec. 5-153. Impounding animals creating animal nuisance.
Animal care officers or other law enforcement officers shall have the power to impound animals which create an animal nuisance for the purpose of abating the nuisance as follows:

(a) On public property, in all cases;

(b) On private property, if:

  1. The consent of the resident or property owner is obtained;
  2. The officer reasonably believes there is immediate and imminent danger or peril to the public if the animal in question is not impounded; or
  3. Authorized by appropriate courts of law.

Sec. 5-154. Impounding abandoned or unrestrained animals.
(a) The director may order the seizure and impoundment of any abandoned animal as defined in this chapter. Disposition of said seized and impounded abandoned animals shall be in accordance with sections 5-157, 5-158, and 5-159. Any trap, neuter and return (TNR) program that has been registered with the department shall not constitute a violation of this section.

(b) Animal care officers or other law enforcement officers shall have the power to impound unrestrained animals for the purpose of abating the nuisance as follows:

(1) On public property, in all cases;

(2) On private property, if the consent of the resident or property owner is obtained;

(3) On private property, in all cases except fenced rear yards of residences, if the officer reasonably believes that the animal will run at large if not impounded.

Sec. 5-155. Impounding procedures.san antonio animal laws animal care service bexar county
Animal care officers or other law enforcement officers authorized pursuant to sections 5-153 or 5-154 to abate a nuisance, shall, prior to impounding an animal, leave notice at the residence of the premises where the unrestrained animal was found stating the kind and type of animal seized, the place where the animal is to be impounded, the hours when it may be reclaimed by the owner and the length of time it is to be held; provided the animal care officers or other law enforcement officers shall:
(1) Release the animal to the owner, if the animal was found unrestrained on the owner’s premises and the owner agrees to restrain the animal in the future, or
(2) Release the animal to the owner if the animal was found unrestrained outside the owner’s premises, but the owner readily presents himself and agrees to restrain the animal in the future.

Sec. 5-156. Return of captured animal to owner.
(a) In addition to the issuance of a citation, the animal care officer may return an animal found at large to the known owner in lieu of impounding the animal.
(b) The owner may redeem an impounded animal during normal business hours by paying the impoundment fee, sterilization fees if any, boarding fees, and the pre-release rabies vaccination fee if required by law for the subject species and proof of valid current vaccination cannot be produced.
(c) Upon impound of an intact dog or cat found at large, the department shall conditionally release the dog or cat with the requirement that the owner sterilize the dog or cat within thirty (30) days from the date of the conditional release. The following shall be exempt from this requirement: a dog or cat that qualifies for a certified medical exception from a city veterinarian, a dog or cat that is an exhibition or competition animal, a dog or cat that upon impoundment has a current license and is either wearing its license tag or has an implanted registered microchip or a dog that is a police or military service dog. Owners of exhibition or competition animals and police or military service dogs shall provide proof to the director or his designee. The owner shall provide proof of sterilization of the dog or cat to the department within thirty (30) days from the date of the conditional release.
(d) It shall be unlawful for anyone to whom an animal has been conditionally released under this section to fail to have the animal sterilized and provide proof of sterilization to the department within thirty (30) days from the date of the conditional release.

Sec. 5-157. Notifying owner of impounded animal.
If the owner of an impounded animal can be identified, the animal care officer shall upon impoundment notify the owner at the address stated on records of the department, if any, or the address as determined by a scanned registered microchip.

Sec. 5-158. Minimum time animals impounded; euthanasia authorized.
(a) Impounded animals shall be kept for not fewer than three (3) days, excluding the day the animal is impounded and any days the animal care services facility is not opened, and thereafter shall be subject to humane euthanization at the discretion of the director. Notwithstanding the above, animals may be adopted, rescued or fostered after being held for not fewer than two (2) days excluding the day the animal is impounded and any days the animal care services facility is not opened.
(b) Animals may be adopted, rescued, fostered, or humanely euthanized prior to the time periods referenced above in the following circumstances:

  1. The owner of the animal releases ownership of the animal to the city.
  2. If a licensed veterinarian or designee determines an impounded animal is suffering from disease or injury such that the animal is in pain or is beyond reasonable medical help, the animal may be euthanized immediately.
  3. Due to their immature immune system, any abandoned animal under four (4) months of age shall become the property of the city upon delivery to the animal care services facility, for disposition at the discretion of the director.

Sec. 5-159. Unclaimed animals.
(a) Any animal not claimed by its owner after being held for not fewer than two (2) days excluding the day the animal is impounded and any days the animal care services facility is not opened shall become the property of the city. The selection of an animal for adoption or rescue during the reclamation period or thereafter shall not confer any ownership right or right of possession to the animal.
(b) The director may sell unclaimed livestock found running free of restraint by public auction to the highest bidder for cash after notice of the auction is posted on a public bulletin board where other public notices are posted for the city.

Sec. 5-160. Charges for reclaiming, adopting impounded animals; liability of claimant.
(a) Any owner reclaiming an impounded animal shall, before the animal will be released to him, pay impoundment and boarding fees. The director is authorized to reduce or waive impoundment and/or boarding fees.

(b) No animal shall be released from the animal care facility without the owner presenting proof that the animal has had a rabies vaccination in compliance with the requirements of state law. An owner of any dog or cat who cannot provide proof of said rabies vaccination shall be subject to a fee for rabies vaccination of each dog or cat. An owner of any domestic ferret who cannot provide proof of said rabies vaccination shall be subject to a fee for rabies vaccination of each domestic ferret.

(c) Any citizen reclaiming or adopting any animal under the provisions of this section shall be liable for any applicable fees.

(d) All animals adopted from the animal care facility shall be spayed or neutered within thirty (30) days unless this procedure has already been accomplished. Persons adopting animals from the animal care facility shall pay the applicable fees for adopting a dog or cat. As an incentive for the adoption of animals, the director is authorized to advertise and reduce or waive adoption fees. A deposit will be collected for each pet adopted that has not yet been spayed or neutered. This deposit will be returned upon application and presentment of a valid spay/neuter certificate.

(e) The city animal care facility is authorized to accept animals for humane disposition from individuals who reside in the city or in other municipalities or in unincorporated areas of Bexar County. The city animal care facility is authorized to accept animals for humane disposition from Bexar County for animals in the unincorporated areas of Bexar County as long as the city and county maintain a joint animal control program by contractual agreement. [NOTE: As of August 2015, the city and unincorporated Bexar County do not have a “joint animal control program.”] The city animal care facility is authorized to accept animals for humane disposition from other municipalities in Bexar County as long as the city and the other municipality in Bexar County maintain a joint animal control program by contractual agreement. An animal service fee shall be charged per animal.

(f) The department shall refund fees paid by persons who adopted an animal that dies within two (2) weeks of adoption due to apparent congenital illness or communicable disease that could have been contracted by the animal prior to adoption. Adoption fees shall be refunded as long as the terms of the adoption contract were followed.

(g) At the time animals are reclaimed from the animal care facility, if necessary, they will be implanted with a registered microchip so the animal, if ever lost or stolen, can be returned to its owner.

(h) If an animal that is impounded is sterilized, currently vaccinated for rabies and has a registered microchip, the department will not charge an impound fee for the first impound only. The animal must be reclaimed within the time limits in section 5-158. The initial impound will count as a first impound in assessing fees for any future impounds.

(i) The first impound free policy applies toward each residence.

Sec. 5-161. Liability of owners of impounded animals.
(a) The owner of an animal impounded remains subject to prosecution for violation of this chapter regardless of reclamation or nonreclamation.
(b) The owner of an impounded animal remains liable for the fees incident to impoundment, regardless of reclamation of the animal or nonreclamation.

Sec. 5-162. Abatement of animal nuisance complaint and citation; summary statement.
(a) Any person may, upon presentation of a duly executed affidavit stating the existence of an animal nuisance, as defined in this chapter, and identifying the name and address of the owner or owners of such animal may request the city prosecutor to file a complaint in municipal court against the owner or owners of such animal under the provisions of this chapter. The filing of a complaint by the person will result in the issuance of a court summons to the owner or owners of the animal in question.
(b) Animal care officers and other law enforcement officers may issue the owner or owners of animals creating an animal nuisance, as defined in this chapter, a citation to appear in municipal court to answer the offense charged.

Sec. 5-163. Enforcement; interference with animal care officer, police.
(a) The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the director, his designated agents and the police department. It shall be a violation of this chapter to interfere with an animal care officer or a police officer in the performance of his duties.
(b) Interference is presumed when the owner, keeper, or harborer or possessor of an animal in noncompliance refuses to surrender the animal on demand to the animal care or police officers, provided that the demand is in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(c) It shall be unlawful for a person to make a false complaint or report of an alleged violation under this chapter.

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