WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The city of Wichita Falls is cracking down on roaming and loose animals in its newest pet ordinance.

Nicki Bacon, the administrator with Animal Services Wichita Falls, advised pet owners on how to abide by the updated ordinance that requires pets to have a leash and/or collar on Tuesday, August 22, 2023.

According to Bacon, all focus is on ensuring the safety of cats and dogs this August.

The administrator recommended all animals be kept on a leash, regardless of breed, because the unexpected can happen at a moment’s notice.

Bacon also recommended owners invest in a collar for their furry friends, which can help assist in identifying them in the case of natural disasters or other displacement.

While she noted some community members may be against the leash and collar ordinance, Bacon pointed out that breakaway collars could also be an easier, more humane means of maintaining local pets’ safety.

According to the City of Wichita Falls website, the running at large of animals within the city is prohibited. It said that any animal not physically confined to a private property or on a leash at all times is considered to be a loose animal. This includes front yards or porches that are not fully enclosed or if the animal isn’t on a leash in those areas, the website said.

While violators of this ordinance will first be given a warning, Bacon warned that the fines following an initial warning can reach up to $500.

For more information on this updated ordinance, call the Wichita County Public Health District: Animal Services at (940) 761-8894.