ACS has some solutions to present to City Council on animal control laws

2 more meetings remain

SAN ANTONIO – After hundreds of surveys and suggestions, Animal Care Services said the people have spoken and it now has some solutions to present to City Council to change animal control laws.

ACS Assistant Director Shannon Sims said pets that are well taken care of and even have microchips are put in their cages multiple times a day.

"What we are starting to discover is most of these 'stray animals' are not stray animals. They are owned animals that are allowed to be free of restraint," Sims said.

ACS Director Heber Lefgren said roaming pets are one of the top problems San Antonians want them to fix. This comes after two months of public meetings and more than 800 surveys.

"We are now going through the process of asking how we can incorporate that information in," Lefgren said.

A possible solution Lefgren plans to include in the department’s June proposal to City Council is if ACS can prove a pet was roaming through a witness or pictures, the owner would have to spay or neuter the animal.

People also want the use of chains to tie up pets banned.

Lefgren said people did ask about euthanization. But with a current 91 percent placement rate, he said people understood if they want more enforcement, there has to be a balance "between the live release rate and the controlling (of) the stray population in the field."

Unsafe breeding enforcement is at the top of the list as well. Sims said the law is written with gray areas, which causes many cases to be thrown out in court. Besides changing some of the language, upping the punishment is also a possible solution.

"If we catch a backyard breeder that's not permitted and things like that, folks are basically saying they'd like to see the mom have to be sterilized and the puppies have to be sterilized," Sims said.

There are two more public meetings.  The next one is Thursday at the Harlandale Community Center at 6:30 p.m. The final meeting will take place May 16 at the Melendrez Community Center at the same time.

After the meetings, ACS will create a proposal and give it to the City Council in June. A final vote should happen in August or September.


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