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Fort Worth To Require Intact Animal Permit

(Monday, August 10, 2009)

The City of Fort Worth is considering a variety of changes to their animal control ordinance and will hold a public hearing on the changes at their August 11th meeting. Concerned dog owners are encouraged to attend and to contact their city council member regarding their concerns. Please forward this on to other members of your club so that we can get as many people involved as possible.

The most significant changes are with regard to the new requirements for licensing and redemption of intact animals. All animals must be sterilized unless the owner purchases a $50 Intact Animal Permit. The fee is waived if the owner attends a responsible pet ownership class, but becomes $150 if the permit is not purchased voluntarily. Additionally the license for an unmicrochipped animal rises from $12 to $36 under the new ordinance.

A licensed intact animal that is picked-up by animal control may be redeemed intact one time, however if the animal is confiscated a second time, the animal must be sterilized. The AKC does not feel as though this provision is entirely fair as a second violation may occur years after the initial infraction and not be a true reflection of a habitually irresponsible owner. An otherwise responsible owner should not be penalized if an animal is accidentally let out by a meter reader, neighbor or even as the result of a natural disaster.

The proposal requires fences to be at least 4-feet tall for all dogs, 6 feet tall for dangerous dogs, and prohibits animals from being confined for a substantial portion of the day in an enclosure that does not provide 48 square feet per animal over six months old. These requirements are not reflective of any accepted animal husbandry standards, fail to take in to account the varying sizes and exercise needs of different breeds, and may prove to be a financial burden to responsible owners.

The city has not yet provided us with a copy of the draft ordinance so the following is summarized from the code compliance final recommendations. We will let you know if there are any major changes once the draft is released.

What You Can Do:

  • Contact the Mayor and your representative on the Fort Worth City Council. A map of the city council districts can be seen online at http://www.fortworthgov.org/government/. A full list of their contact information is at the end of this email.
  • Attend the City Council Meeting

    August 11th at 7pm
    Council Chamber at City Hall
    1000 Throckmorton St.
    Fort Worth, TX 76102

Proposed Changes:

  • Spay/Neuter and License Fees:
    • All animals must be sterilized unless the owner purchases a one-time $50 Intact Animal Permit or has a waiver from a veterinarian. Fee is per owner, not per animal. Fee is waived if the owner attends a responsible pet ownership class. The fee will be $150 if the owner does not voluntarily obtain the permit.
    • Allow reclaimed animals with a current city license to be redeemed intact on a first offense. Animals redeemed a second time would have to be sterilized even if they are licensed.
    • License fees: $12 for a one year license Reclaimed animals that are required to be sterilized would be either sterilized by the city or the owner would need to pay a $200 deposit which is refunded once proof is received that a private veterinarian has sterilized the animal.
    • Dog licenses are $12 for a 3-year license (if animal has a 3-year rabies shot and is microchipped). Currently the fee is $7/year, so it is less expensive if you get the 3-year license. The fee for an animal that is not microchipped is $36 annually.
    • Allow animal control officers in the field to issue a temporary 30 license for $36.
    • Require owners who have an unlicensed animal to pay a $100 late fee.
    • Offer spay/neuter, vaccination, micro-chipping and registration to qualifying citizens who are preparing to relinquish an animal in the hope that they will retain the animal.
  • Dangerous Dog Ordinance:
    • Creates an "aggressive dog" designation defined as an animal that repeatedly engaged in any of the following behaviors when not provoked:
      • While not at play or incidental to basic interaction attacks other domestic pets within its own enclosure.
      • Attempts to climb, dog, chew through or otherwise attempts to escape from their enclosure in an attempt to attack, chase or harass a person or domestic animal.
      • Bites a person who is lawfully and reasonably inside the animal’s enclosure.
    • Prohibit dogs declared dangerous in other jurisdictions from relocating to Fort Worth.
    • Require a $500 annual registration fee for dogs declared dangerous after the adoption of the new ordinance.
    • Seeks to provide free or reduced-cost spay/neuter services for aggressive dogs.
  • Fencing, Enclosures and Unrestrained Animals:
    • Fences required to be minimum of 4-ft tall. Animal control director may approve a shorter fence.
    • Fences for dogs declared dangerous or aggressive must be 6-ft. Director may approve a shorter fence.
    • Prohibits animals being confined for a substantial portion of the day in an enclosure that does not provide 48 square feet per animal over six months old.
    • Allow the fine for an unrestrained animal to be up to $500.
    • Develop requirements for animal in unenclosed vehicles such as pick-up trucks.
  • Allow staff to seize animals that determined to be tethered in violation of the existing cruelty law if they owners do not comply with an initial citation.
  • Allow the director to offer half-price adoptions and lower adoption fees for senior citizens.

Fort Worth City Council

Mayor Mike Moncrief
Telephone: 817-392-6118
Fax: 817-392-6187
E-mail: mike.moncrief@fortworthgov.org

Mayor Pro-Tem Danny Scarth (District 4)
Telephone: 817-392-8804
Fax: 817-392-6187
E-mail: District4@fortworthgov.org

Councilmember Sal Espino (District 2)
Telephone: 817-392-8802
Fax: 817-392-6187
E-mail: District2@fortworthgov.org

Councilmember W.B. Zimmerman (District 3)
Telephone: 817-392-8803
Fax: 817-392-6187
E-mail: District3@fortworthgov.org

Councilmember Frank Moss (District 5)
Telephone: 817-392-8805
Fax: 817-392-6187
E-mail: District5@fortworthgov.org

Councilmember Jungus Jordan (District 6)
Telephone: 817-392-8806
Fax: 817-392-6187
E-mail: District6@fortworthgov.org

Councilmember Carter Burdette (District 7)
Telephone: 817-392-8807
Fax: 817-392-6187
E-mail: District7@fortworthgov.org

Councilmember Kathleen Hicks (District 8)
Telephone: 817-392-8808
Fax: 817-392-6187
E-mail: District8@fortworthgov.org

Councilmember Joel Burns (District 9)
Telephone: 817-392-8809
Fax: 817-392-6187
E-mail: District9@fortworthgov.org