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Ordinance Guide - Animal Licenses/Vaccinations

Animal Licenses


DIVISION 2. LICENSE AND VACCINATION

Sec. 6-86. License required.
(a) No person shall own, keep, possess, or have control over any dog or cat within the city unless such person has a current city license for such dog or cat, provided that a city license shall not be required for:
(1) Dogs and cats under the age of four months which are confined in a place owned or under the possession of the person having ownership, possession or control of the dog or cat within an enclosure which is sufficient to prevent escape therefrom;
(2) Dogs or cats owned by or in the possession or control of persons who are nonresidents of the city, traveling through the city, or temporarily sojourning therein for a period not exceeding 30 days;
(3) Dogs or cats brought into the city exclusively for the purpose of entry in any show or exhibition, and which are actually entered in and kept at such show or exhibition;
(4) Dogs or cats kept for teaching or research purposes by a medical school, veterinary school, licensed hospital or nonprofit university or college providing a degree program;
(5) Dogs or cats kept for the purposes of medical observation or treatment in veterinary hospitals;
(6) Dogs or cats kept in the shelter facilities of a humane organization;
(7) Dogs or cats originally acquired by the person owning, keeping or having possession thereof within the preceding 30 days;
(8) Dogs or cats owned by or in custody or under control of persons who have been residents of the city for 30 days or less.
(9) The dog or cat which is owned by a person who does not reside within the city and:
a current rabies vaccination; and
b. The animal has a current license as issued by the city, county or other applicable licensing authority governing the licensing of animals in the place where the animal is normally kept by its owner.
In any prosecution under this section, the burden shall be upon the defendant to establish as an affirmative defense that one of the exceptions set out in subparagraph (a)(1) through (a)(9), above, is applicable.
(b) No person shall permit any dog or cat on any premises under his ownership, possession or control unless there is a current license issued for such dog or cat; provided, however, it shall be an affirmative defense that the animal is not required to have a license pursuant to any applicable exception listed in subsection (a) above.
(c) A person may obtain a license for a cat or a dog (either sterilized or unsterilized) by completing the appropriate application therefor, paying the prescribed license fee, and furnishing proof of vaccination against rabies. Additionally, for a sterilizedsterilizedsterilizedsterilizedsterilizedsterilized pet license, proof must be provided that the animal has been sterilized. Except where the health officer is able to determine by external examination that the animal has been sterilized, the proof shall be provided by certificate of a veterinarian. The license must be renewed each year by providing proof of vaccination against rabies and the payment of the renewal processing fee.
(Code 1968, § 6-54; Ord. No. 85-296, § 6, 2-27-85; Ord. No. 93-996, §§ 2, 3, 8-18-93; Ord. No. 03-393, § 3, 4-23-03; Ord. No. 05-104, § 2, 2-2-05)

Sec. 6-87. Tag to be worn.
(a) It shall be the duty of each person having ownership of a dog or cat for which a license is required to be issued under this article to ensure that the license tag furnished by the licensing authority in conjunction with the issuance of the animal's license is worn by the animal at all times. It is a defense to prosecution hereunder that the dog or cat was confined within a building or other totally enclosed structure under the ownership, possession or control of the person having possession of the animal at the time that the animal was not wearing a license tag.
(b) In any prosecution under this article it shall be presumed that no valid license has been issued for an animal hereunder unless the animal was wearing a valid license tag furnished pursuant to section 6-92 at the time of the alleged offense.
(Ord. No. 85-296, § 6, 3-1-85)

Sec. 6-88. Fees.
The following fees and licensing terms shall be applicable for licenses for dogs and cats:
(1) If the cat or dog has been sterilized, then the owner shall obtain a sterilized pet license for each animal at an annual fee of $10.00.
(2) If a dog or cat has not been sterilized, the owner shall obtain an unsterilized pet license for the animal at an annual fee of $50.00.
(3) Senior citizens 60 years of age or older with sterilized dogs or cats shall obtain a sterilized pet license for each such dog or cat for the fee of $5.00 for the initial license and the regular payment of the renewal processing fee of $2.00 for each subsequent year.
(4) Persons who use certified assistance, hearing or seeing dogs that have been sterilized may, upon application, obtain a sterilized pet license without paying for any fee therefor except the renewal processing fee of $2.00 for each subsequent year.
(5) In order to partially defray the city's additional costs associated with late issuance and renewal of licenses, a late processing fee of $10.00 shall be added to the cost of the dog or cat license fees, if the applicant fails to obtain such license within 30 days of the earlier of the following dates:
a. The anniversary date of the dog or cat's vaccination against rabies shown on prior dog or cat licenses;
b. The date the dog or cat is first brought into the city;
c. The date the dog or cat reaches the age of four months;
d. The date the applicant first acquired the dog or cat over the age of four months.
For purposes of avoiding the foregoing late processing fee, the date of the application shall be the date that it is actually received by the licensing authority in complete and valid form, including all required certificates; provided, that mailed applications shall be deemed to have been received on the postmark date, if legible.
(Code 1968, § 6-54; Ord. No. 85-296, § 6, 2-27-85; Ord. No. 93-996, § 4, 8-18-93; Ord. No. 03-393, § 4, 4-23-03; Ord. No. 05-104, § 3, 2-2-05; Ord. No. 07-148, § 6, 1-31-07)

Sec. 6-88.1. Special clinics; fees.
(a) From time to time during the months of April through October of each year the health department may conduct special clinics for the vaccination and licensing of dogs and cats in cooperation with any group or association of veterinarians. Such clinics shall be held only at such times and places as are designated by the director of public health. Prior to each such clinic, the director of public health shall furnish a notice thereof to the city secretary who shall cause the same to be posted in a conspicuousplace in City Hall.
(b) The following provisions shall be applicable to any special clinic held pursuant to this section:
(1) The veterinarians shall agree to reduce their charges below the usual and customary fees for vaccinating a dog or cat at the clinic.
(2) The city's licensing fee for each dog or cat vaccinated and licensed at the clinic shall be one-half the applicable fee set out in section 6-88 of this Code.
(Ord. No. 85-495, § 1, 4-9-85; Ord. No. 85-1383, § 1, 8-13-85)

Sec. 6-89. Duration; transfer.
(a) Each sterilized pet license and unsterilized pet license shall expire upon the first occurrence of any of the following events:
(1) The expiration of one year from the date of its issuance; or
(2) The expiration of the current rabies vaccination that was evidenced in the documentation furnished to obtain the license; or
(3) The death of the animal; or
(4) The 30th day next following any change of ownership of the animal, unless the license has been amended by that date; or
(5) The thirtieth day next following any change of the address of the animal's owner unless the license has been amended by that date.
(b) In the event of a change of ownership of the licensed animal or in the event of a change of address of the licensed animal's owner, then the director may cause the license to be amended to reflect such change of owner or address, provided that an application for amendment is received by the director within the thirty-day period next following the date of the change. The director may promulgate forms and administrative rules as required for the orderly administration of license amendments and applications therefor. A copy of the administrative rules shall be maintained for public inspection in the offices of the director and the city secretary. No fee shall be imposed for an amendment.
(c) An expired license is of no force and effect. A new license must be obtained on or before expiration if the animal remains subject to licensing by the city hereunder.
(Code 1968, § 6-54; Ord. No. 85-296, § 6, 2-27-85; Ord. No. 93-996, § 5, 8-18-93; Ord. No. 03-393, § 5, 4-23-03; Ord. No. 05-104, § 4, 2-2-05)

Sec. 6-90. Licensing authority.
Licenses required under this article shall be issued by the director. Additionally, the director may deputize any veterinarian or other person not regularly employed by the city as a deputy licensing authority if such person desires to issue licenses hereunder and demonstrates proof of financial responsibility for the fees to be collected and remitted in a form satisfactory to the director. The director may issue administrative rules and regulations relating to the designation of deputy licensing authorities and their issuance of licenses. A copy thereof shall be maintained for public inspection in the offices of the director and the city secretary. A deputy licensing authority may not impose any fee in addition to that specified in this article for the issuance of a license, but the deputy licensing authority may retain $1.00 or ten percent of the applicable fee, whichever is more, from the fee for each license issued as compensation for his services in issuing the license.
(Code 1968, § 6-54; Ord. No. 85-296, § 6, 2-27-85)

Sec. 6-91. Rabies vaccination required prior to issuance; certification of neutering.
No animal license shall be issued unless there is exhibited to the licensing authority a certificate by a veterinarian showing that the animal to be licensed has been inoculated with a rabies vaccine approved by the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Veterinary Biologics Division in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer, and that such vaccination will not expire prior to the issuance of the license. No animal license shall be issued for an animal as being a spayed or neutered animal unlessthere is also exhibited to the licensing authority a certificate by a veterinarian or other clear and convincing evidence that the animal has, in fact, been spayed or neutered.
(Code 1968, § 6-54; Ord. No. 85-296, § 6, 2-27-85)

Sec. 6-92. Records.
At the time of issuance of each dog or cat license hereunder, the licensing authority shall furnish a numbered license tag which shall be worn by the animal to evidence the issuance of the city license hereunder. The license tag shall be valid for so long as the animal's license remains valid. The department of public health shall maintain a record of all licenses issued under this article, which shall show the name and address of each person issued a license, the number of the license tag furnished, a description of the dog or cat for which the license is issued, the date of issuance, the fee paid, the place of issuance, the type of rabies vaccine administered and the date of inoculation.
(Code 1968, § 6-54; Ord. No. 85-296, § 6, 2-27-85)

Sec. 6-93. Replacement tags.
In the event of loss or destruction of a license tag, replacement tags shall be available from the director for the payment of a $2.00 fee, upon satisfactory proof that the dog or cat in question was properly licensed.
(Code 1968, § 6-54; Ord. No. 85-296, § 6, 2-27-85; Ord. No. 93-996, § 6, 8-18-93)

Sec. 6-94. Counterfeiting, destruction of licenses or tags.
The following acts are declared to be unlawful:
(1) The counterfeiting of dog or cat licenses or tags.
(2) The willful and malicious destruction of dog or cat license tags.
(Code 1968, § 6-54; Ord. No. 85-296, § 6, 2-27-85)

Sec. 6-95. When rabies vaccination required; evidence.
(a) No person shall own, possess or have control over any dog or cat within the city that is four months of age or older unless the dog or cat has a current rabies vaccination.
(b) In any prosecution under this section, the burden shall be upon the defendant to prove that the animal is not required to be vaccinated because it is less than four months of age or that the animal was in fact vaccinated within the immediate preceding period of one year. A certificate duly signed by a veterinarian attesting that he administered the vaccination required by this section, bearing the date and type of vaccine and the identification of the dog or cat by breed, color, and sex and the vaccinationtag number and the name and address of the owner shall be accepted as evidence of such vaccination.
(Code 1968, § 6-55; Ord. No. 85-296, § 7, 2-27-85; Ord. No. 03-393, § 2, 4-23-03)

 

Commentary
An apartment manager in Houston can insist that most dogs and cats have a license from the Houston Health and Human Services Department, and that tags be worn when the animal is outside the unit. In addition, an apartment manager can require that animals on the property not exceed certain weight limits and/or require vaccination/neutering. For information, call (713) 238-9600.