City Enforcement of Animal Ordinances

Laws and local ordinances are useless unless they are enforceable. Previously, municipal enforcement of violations of animal care and treatment ordinances usually required cities to follow the same procedures as those for violations of criminal laws. 

This set a high bar for enforcement and required the city to devote valuable time and resources to prosecution. Thanks to SB654, violations of animal ordinances (and water conservation measures) will now be handled as civil, rather than criminal, matters. This change will result in greater enforcement and efficiency for all involved.


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  • “How” does handling as civil rather than criminal result in greater enforcement and efficiency? Several people called about two dogs tied up in the frigid temperatures in San Antonio over the Christmas holiday and it took three councilmen to add pressure for ACS to even go out and cite. The dogs were not taken from the abusers and the address where the abusers said they were taking the dogs was not even recorded for follow-up. From the dog’s standpoint, this has not improved.