Read the original article by Ariana Garcia at statesman.com here.
The Round Rock City Council Thursday night approved on first reading amendments to the city’s animal ordinance that would require owners to microchip their pets and outlaws leaving pets alone in vehicles.
The amendments were initially discussed during an Oct. 25 meeting where council members voted to table the changes to make adjustments following public feedback.
Several residents spoke in favor of the changes, including resident Kimberly Burgan.
“This is huge for dogs and huge for care and huge for our community,” she said. “I cannot stress what a positive impact this will have.”
The ordinance outlaws leaving pets unattended in vehicles for any length of time, giving officers the ability to use force — like breaking a window — to remove an animal for its safety.
“The changes we made were mainly to clarify the vague wording,” said Animal Control Supervisor Joel Coston. “We did clarify it a little bit but we are still recommending that we ban unattended animals in vehicles outright.”
The rule also applies to animals in an open-air vehicle, unless the animal is confined to the vehicle “by a vented container or cage, or by chain, rope or other devise cross-tied to prevent the animal from falling or jumping from the motor vehicles or from strangling on a single leash,” the ordinance reads.
Under the new rules, all pets in Round Rock over the age of 4 months would be required to be microchipped within 30 days of moving to the city. Pet owners are also required to update microchip ownership information.
“If ownership is transferred, it would be the responsibility of the new owner, not the previous owner, to maintain that microchip with the proper information,” Coston said.
The proposed ordinance also bans tethering an animal to a post with a metal chain and defines collars as nylon, leather or similar material that is properly fitted and specifically designed to be used for a dog.
The ordinance also prohibits any animals younger than 8 weeks old to be sold in the city without its mother. It also stipulates that only animals from from Williamson and Travis counties can be sold as pets in Round Rock.
The ordinance also sets out guidelines for trap, neuter and return programs in the city, which were previously unregulated, city staff said.
The council will hold a second reading on the ordinance at its Dec. 20 meeting