Dog Laws – Nuisance in San Antonio

Posted on Oct 8, 2012


Dog Laws apply to all dogs equally, or do they?

In San Antonio,  Texas, the city Dog Laws can be found at this link. Under the heading category, “animals”, you will find about 7 subtopics. In an earlier article, we disused the dangerous dog laws.  In this article, we discuss what happens if you get a ticket for “Nuisance – Dog Bite” which states the ticket arises from section 5-150 of the city code.

What Are the Dog Laws that Apply to a Nuisance – Dog Bite Case?

In sum, the following laws, which are included below are summarized as follows:

  • Owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs;
  • If an owner violates a dog law, then the owner has committed the class c misdemeanor of “nuisance”;
  • An owner shall never their dog run free off the owner’s property;
  • Owners of Dogs shall not allow their pets to incessantly cry or bark within the hearing of others;
  • Owners shall not allow dogs to injure or bite other people or other animals;
  • Owners shall prevent dogs from harming any property of others;
  • Animal Control Officers can impound dogs that are loose in the public;
  • Animals Control Officers can impound dogs on private premises IF THEY HAVE PERMISSION FROM THE OWNER
  • even if the Animal Control Officer does NOT have permission from the owner, the officer may impound a dog if it is reasonably necessary to stop the dog from continuing its nuisance;
  • If the dog is impounded, the owner may have to pay a fee to take the dog out of impoundment;
  • if an owner does not come to claim the dog, it may be euthanized after 3 days or more at the discretion of the director– similarly the dog may be adopted to others if it is not collected within 3 days;

I have enclosed the actual relevant portions of the City Code for your reference:

Sec. 5-150. – Animal nuisances.

The owner or keeper of any animal in the city is responsible for the behavior and conduct of that animal at all times including the creation of a public nuisance. Violations of the following acts or omissions are public nuisances:

(a)The owner or keeper shall keep the animal (except cats) restrained at all times and insure that the animal (except cats) does not roam or run at large at will;

(b)The owner or keeper shall not keep any dog which barks or whines in such a manner, with such intensity, or with such continued duration, or keep any other animal, fowl, or bird, which makes frequent or long, continued noise, so as to annoy, distress or disturb the quiet comfort or repose of persons of normal nervous sensibilities within the vicinity of hearing thereof;

(c)The owner or keeper shall prevent his animal from biting or injuring without provocation, any animal or person;

(d)The owner or keeper shall prevent his animal from damaging or destroying public property or property other than its owner’s private property;

(e)The owner or keeper shall not keep more than the number of animals allowed under this chapter;

(f)An owner or keeper creates an animal nuisance by the keeping, frequent feeding or harboring of any poisonous or inherently dangerous or prohibited animal.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-151. – Outdoor cats.

All outdoor cats must be spayed or neutered.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-152. – Misdemeanor violations by animal owners; presumptions.

(a)An animal owner commits a misdemeanor offense if by act, omission or possession he creates an animal nuisance.

(b)The following presumptions are hereby declared applicable in the prosecution of an offense pursuant to subsection (a):

(1)The filing of a complaint by two (2) or more neighbors, within a 12-month period, regarding the barking of an animal kept by its owner shall give rise to the presumption that an owner keeps an animal which barks or whines in such a manner, with such intensity, or with such continued duration so as to annoy, distress or disturb the quiet, comfort or repose of persons of normal nervous sensibilities. For the purpose of this presumption, each neighbor must occupy a different residence;

(2)The fact that an animal in question has bitten or injured another animal or human being during the previous eighteen (18) months shall give rise to the presumption that the animal bites or injures other animals or human beings without provocation;

(3)The fact that an animal in question has damaged or destroyed public or private property during the last twelve (12) months shall give rise to the presumption that the animal has a propensity to destroy property.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-153. – Impounding animals creating animal nuisance.

Animal care officers or other law enforcement officers shall have the power to impound animals which create an animal nuisance for the purpose of abating the nuisance as follows:

(a)On public property, in all cases;

(b)On private property, if:

1.The consent of the resident or property owner is obtained;

2.The officer reasonably believes there is immediate and imminent danger or peril to the public if the animal in question is not impounded; or

3.Authorized by appropriate courts of law.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-154. – Impounding abandoned or unrestrained animals.

(a)The director may order the seizure and impoundment of any abandoned animal as defined in this chapter. Disposition of said seized and impounded abandoned animals shall be in accordance with sections 5-157, 5-158, and 5-159. Any trap, neuter and return (TNR) program that has been registered with the department shall not constitute a violation of this section.

(b)Animal care officers or other law enforcement officers shall have the power to impound unrestrained animals for the purpose of abating the nuisance as follows:

(1)On public property, in all cases;

(2)On private property, if the consent of the resident or property owner is obtained;

(3)On private property, in all cases except fenced rear yards of residences, if the officer reasonably believes that the animal will run at large if not impounded.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-155. – Impounding procedures.

Animal care officers or other law enforcement officers authorized pursuant to sections 5-153 or 5-154 to abate a nuisance, shall, prior to impounding an animal, leave notice at the residence of the premises where the unrestrained animal was found stating the kind and type of animal seized, the place where the animal is to be impounded, the hours when it may be reclaimed by the owner and the length of time it is to be held; provided the animal care officers or other law enforcement officers shall:

(1)Release the animal to the owner, if the animal was found unrestrained on the owner’s premises and the owner agrees to restrain the animal in the future, or

(2)Release the animal to the owner if the animal was found unrestrained outside the owner’s premises, but the owner readily presents himself and agrees to restrain the animal in the future.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-156. – Return of captured animal to owner.

(a)In addition to the issuance of a citation, the animal care officer may return an animal found at large to the known owner in lieu of impounding the animal.

(b)The owner may redeem an impounded animal during normal business hours by paying the impoundment fee, sterilization fees if any, boarding fees, and the pre-release rabies vaccination fee if required by law for the subject species and proof of valid current vaccination cannot be produced.

(c)On the first impound, of an intact dog found at large, the department shall require the owner to enter into an agreement to sterilize the dog before releasing it back to its owner, unless the owner possesses or obtains a valid intact dog license for the dog. If an owner enters into a sterilization agreement, the owner shall provide proof of sterilization of the dog to the department within thirty (30) days from the date of the agreement.

(d)On the second impound of a dog found at large, the intact dog license shall be revoked if applicable, and the owner shall agree to sterilize the dog, unless the dog qualifies for a certified medical exception from a city veterinarian, the dog is an exhibition or competition dog, or the dog is a police or military service dog. Owners of exhibition or competition dogs and police or military service dogs shall provide proof to the director or his designee. Under the sterilization agreement, the owner shall provide proof of sterilization of the dog to the department within thirty (30) days from the date of the agreement.

(e)On the second impound of an intact cat found at large, the department shall sterilize the cat prior to releasing it back to its owner at the owner’s expense, or require the owner of an intact cat to enter into an agreement to sterilize the cat before releasing it back to its owner, unless the cat qualifies for a certified medical exception from a city veterinarian, or the cat is an exhibition or competition cat. Owners of exhibition or competition cats shall provide proof to the director or his designee. If an owner enters into a sterilization agreement, the owner shall provide proof of sterilization of the cat to the department within thirty (30) days from the date of the agreement.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-157. – Notifying owner of impounded animal.

If the owner of an impounded animal can be identified, the animal care officer shall upon impoundment notify the owner at the address stated on the records of the department.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-158. – Minimum time animals impounded; euthanasia authorized.

Impounded dogs and cats shall be kept for not fewer than three (3) days, excluding the day the animal is impounded and any days the animal care services facility is not opened, and shall be subject to adoption, rescue, foster or humanely euthanized at the discretion of the director thereafter. In the case of owned animals, the city may dispose of any unclaimed animal before this three-day period if the owner releases ownership of the animal to the city. If any impounded animal is determined by a licensed veterinarian or designee to be suffering from disease or injury such that the animal is in pain or is beyond reasonable medical help, the animal may be euthanized immediately. In such a case, holding times otherwise specified in this Code will not apply. Due to their immature immune system, any abandoned animal under four (4) months of age shall immediately become the property of the city, for humane disposition, and may be offered for adoption or humanely euthanized at the discretion of the director.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-159. – Unclaimed animals.

(a)Any animal not claimed by its owner within the above stated three (3) days shall become the property of the city, and shall be subject to adoption, rescue, foster or humanely euthanized at the discretion of the director. The selection of an animal for adoption or rescue during the reclamation period or thereafter shall not confer any ownership right or right of possession to the animal.

(b)The director may sell unclaimed livestock found running free of restraint by public auction to the highest bidder for cash after notice of the auction is posted on a public bulletin board where other public notices are posted for the city.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-160. – Charges for reclaiming, adopting impounded animals; liability of claimant.

(a)Any owner reclaiming an impounded animal shall, before the animal will be released to him, pay impoundment and boarding fees. The director is authorized to reduce or waive impoundment and/or boarding fees.

(b)No animal shall be released from the animal care facility without the owner presenting proof that the animal has had a rabies vaccination in compliance with the requirements of state law. An owner of any dog or cat who cannot provide proof of said rabies vaccination shall be subject to a fee for rabies vaccination of each dog or cat. An owner of any domestic ferret who cannot provide proof of said rabies vaccination shall be subject to a fee for rabies vaccination of each domestic ferret. In addition, no animal shall be released without being licensed.

(c)Any citizen reclaiming or adopting any animal under the provisions of this section shall be liable for any applicable fees.

(d)All animals adopted from the animal care facility shall be spayed or neutered within thirty (30) days unless this procedure has already been accomplished. Persons adopting animals from the animal care facility shall pay the applicable fees for adopting a dog or cat. As an incentive for the adoption of animals, the director is authorized to advertise and reduce or waive adoption fees. A deposit will be collected for each pet adopted that has not yet been spayed or neutered. This deposit will be returned upon application and presentment of a valid spay/neuter certificate.

(e)The city animal care facility is authorized to accept animals for humane disposition from individuals who reside in the city or in other municipalities or in unincorporated areas of Bexar County. The city animal care facility is authorized to accept animals for humane disposition from Bexar County for animals in the unincorporated areas of Bexar County as long as the city and county maintain a joint animal control program by contractual agreement. The city animal care facility is authorized to accept animals for humane disposition from other municipalities in Bexar County as long as the city and the other municipality in Bexar County maintain a joint animal control program by contractual agreement. An animal service fee shall be charged per animal.

(f)The department shall refund fees paid by persons who adopted an animal that dies within two (2) weeks of adoption due to apparent congenital illness or communicable disease that could have been contracted by the animal prior to adoption. Adoption fees shall be refunded as long as the terms of the adoption contract were followed.

(g)At the time animals are reclaimed from the animal care facility they will be identified by the implantation of a microchip so the animal, if ever lost or stolen, can be returned to its owner.

(h)If an animal that is impounded is sterilized, currently vaccinated for rabies and licensed the department will not charge an impound fee for the first impound only. The animal must be reclaimed within the time limits in section 5-158. The initial impound will count as a first impound in assessing fees for any future impounds.

(i)The first impound free policy applies toward each residence.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-161. – Liability of owners of impounded animals.

(a)The owner of an animal impounded remains subject to prosecution for violation of this chapter regardless of reclamation or nonreclamation.

(b)The owner of an impounded animal remains liable for the fees incident to impoundment, regardless of reclamation of the animal or nonreclamation.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-162. – Abatement of animal nuisance complaint and citation; summary statement.

(a)Any person may, upon presentation of a duly executed affidavit stating the existence of an animal nuisance, as defined in this chapter, and identifying the name and address of the owner or owners of such animal may request the city prosecutor to file a complaint in municipal court against the owner or owners of such animal under the provisions of this chapter. The filing of a complaint by the person will result in the issuance of a court summons to the owner or owners of the animal in question.

(b)Animal care officers and other law enforcement officers may issue the owner or owners of animals creating an animal nuisance, as defined in this chapter, a citation to appear in municipal court to answer the offense charged.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

Sec. 5-163. – Enforcement; interference with animal care officer, police.

(a)The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the director, his designated agents and the police department. It shall be a violation of this chapter to interfere with an animal care officer or a police officer in the performance of his duties.

(b)Interference is presumed when the owner, keeper, or harborer or possessor of an animal in noncompliance refuses to surrender the animal on demand to the animal care or police officers, provided that the demand is in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(c)It shall be unlawful for a person to make a false complaint or report of an alleged violation under this chapter.

(Ord. No. 2010-06-17-0555, § 1, 6-17-10)

 

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