Animal Shelter Advisory Committee hears animal ordinance potential revisions

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — In the next step in revising the Wichita Falls animal ordinances, Friday the Director of Health presented proposed changes to the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee.

Those changes include a ban on dogs riding in pickup beds and required microchips for dogs and cats.

With five committee members, all seemed to appreciate the work that went into updating the animal ordinances.

“I’m really thrilled with the amount of work and effort that has gone into this, it has been a really really long time coming,” ASAC voting member Leslie Harrelson said. “They have turned over every stone, thought of everything, consulted a ton of other cities, we’re not trying to pave any new ground here we’re just trying to catch Wichita Falls up.”

Friday’s meeting is the first step in a long process. Residents won’t see changes unless the city council approves the new ordinances.

“I just hope that everybody educates themselves on what we’re trying to do here and encourages their councilmen to vote in favor of this ordinance and all of these changes,” Harrelson said.

District 5 Councilor Steve Jackson attended the meeting and is on-board with the revisions.

“I think they’ve done an awesome job, I really think that stepping up with all the problems that we’ve had and all that, they’ve done an excellent job,” Jackson said.

Jackson said he thinks once this makes it to the council, other members will also support the ordinances.

“I think that they will be on-board as well,” Jackson said.

Harrelson said the committee supports the changes, and while overdue, it’s better late than never.

“Being an animal friendly committee improves our community in a lot of ways, economically, physically, and the world is more animal friendly right now so I’m really happy to kind of put Wichita Falls on the map and catch up with other cities and see what we can do to be an even better city,” Harrelson said.

The first step is complete and from here, the committee and Health District are open to suggestions before the final vote at city council.

The Animal Shelter Advisory Committee meets again on Aug. 30 and this meeting is especially important as members will vote to make a recommendation to the Board of Health.

When looking at the list of some of the major changes, keep in mind once they go in effect you can be ticketed for violations, but for some of them, officials say first-time offenders may just get a warning.

Process:

  • A series of stockholder meetings will help gather input
  • The advisory committee will discuss changes and present a final proposal to the Board of Health.
  • Finally, the revisions head to the city council for a final decision, expected to happen as early as October.

Major potential changes:

  • Ban on dogs riding in the bed of pickup trucks
  • All dogs & cats must be microchipped at 16 weeks
  • Definition changes (including “vicious” to “dangerous”; “Animal Control Officer” to “Animal Care Officer”)
  • Owners surrending animals must schedule an appointment before doing so
  • All dogs and cats must wear collars (cats can wear breakaway collars to prevent strangulation)
  • If your pet is impounded, prior to release it must be microchipped and get spayed/neutered within 20 days
  • Prohibit the sale or giving away of animals in parking lots, flea markets, temporary events & public gatherings

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