The city ordinance went into effect on January 1, 2014. A downloadable copy can be obtained at the link at the end of this article. The new ordinance covers spay-neuter, microchipping, vaccinations and the sale of pets in public places. Waco’s goal is obviously to ensure a dog or cat is cared for, with the owner being held responsible, should the ordinance be violated.
DOG AND CAT OWNERS
The following pertains to dogs and cats over four months old
- Spay/neuter mandatory. This goes for community cats as well, as outlined in the Waco TNR program
- Dogs and cats must be vaccinated against rabies. This is state law, and not just a local ordinance
- All owned dogs and cats must be microchipped. TNR cats are exempt
- A dog or cat may be exempt due to health issues. A veterinarian must document the pet’s medical record, and the pet owner must provide this information to law enforcement or animal control, should they be asked.
Breeders must have their pets microchipped, and must have a Health Statement issued by a veterinarian at least once every two years. This statement must include the pets microchip number.
It becomes the responsibility of the person who adopts from a breeder to obtain the documents on their new pet, as well as to transfer ownership to the microchip company.
LOW COST PROGRAMS
Residents of the City of Waco may qualify for free spay/neuter based on income or location. Residents in the 76708 zip code qualify for community cats, both outdoor and outdoor/indoor to have free TNR. This will include spay/neuter, rabies vaccine and the eartip performed during surgery. Loaner traps are provide for a refundable deposit to catch the cats needing TNR.
Other low cost options are available by calling 752-SPAY (Waco area only). Discount programs perform operations at Animal Birth Control Clinic and Crossroads Animal Clinic in Waco. Low cost programs for microchipping a pet are also available at several locations.
SELLING OF CATS AND DOGS
Dogs and cats may not be sold or given away at any roadside, parking lot, garage sale or flea market or any other public meeting area. This most likely has cut down on the number of “puppy mill” dogs taken to and sold on weekends at local flea markets.
OTHER HELPFUL INFO
The City of Waco also provides need-to-know information on issues such as tethering a dog, how to prevent having to surrender a pet, online sources to search for a lost pet, and rescue organizations willing to help rehome a pet.
What if communities who read about the City of Waco decide to follow in their footsteps? Not only will this put responsible pet ownership out there for those who want the best for their pet, it also makes it affordable. And helping rehome a pet, or recover a dog or cat who is lost will cut down dramatically on the number of animals killed at local shelters. TNR, which has taken a hit over the past several years, will be embraced as a viable solution to curb the stray cat population.
This would in no way create the extinction of a species or breed, because no matter how hard we try, there will always be irresponsible pet owners. This will also protect those who breed cats and dogs to improve the bloodlines.
Readers, do you think this plan is a possible alternative to the hit and miss ideas out there today? Your comments are welcome.
Downloadable copy of the ordinance, as well as information helpful to dog and cat owners can be found here.