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Carlos B. Lopez, Constable

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Bruce Elfant

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Constable's Notebook - February 2005

Last month a member of the Windsor Park Neighborhood Association asked me what she should do about a dog that she believed was being abused. Animal regulations and abuse and neglect offenses are governed by state law and city ordinance and are investigated by Austin Police Department detectives.

Chapter 42.09, Texas Penal Code creates an offense for torture of animals, failing to reasonably provide food, care or shelter, abandoning, transporting or confining in a cruel manner, kills or poisons or causes an animal to fight. An offense under this section is a state jail felony unless a person has been previously convicted whereby it would be a third degree felony.
The City of Austin Ordinance (Chapter 3) regulates the care of pets by their owners. Dogs are required to be under control (on leashes) at all times except in 10 designated areas throughout Austin. Dogs may not be tethered in such a manner that is too tight around the collar or that deprives them of access to necessary food and water. A person may not keep six or more dogs on their property unless they are puppies less than four months old. Owners of dogs and cats are responsible for removing discharge left by their pets on public or other people’s private property. Owners of dogs that have bitten or scratched a person three times or one time if it endangered a person’s life or killed another animal must be removed from the City. All dogs and cats must be registered annually by the City. An offense of the City Code is a Class C Misdemeanor.

If you have questions regarding these regulations, pet registration, or you wish to report stray animals, animal abuse or neglect cases, call 3-1-1 the City of Austin non-emergency number.



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