Tougher Rules In Place For Pet Owners

In Nacogdoches Fido, the dog or any other animal for that matter, will no longer be allowed to ride in the back of a pickup without the protection of a cage or restraint. It's just one of several changes to a 35 year old animal code that ignored alot of issues.

Health code advisory committee member Ann Doyle-Anderson said, "The problem of animal over population and it didn't address the issues of animal cruelties specifically either and it didn't protect the public enough either. There were just a lot of gaps." Doyle-Anderson helped research proactive ordinances from 60 cities that have tougher rules. Now new rules for Nacogdoches have been adopted. The Nacogdoches County Humane Society and O'Malley Alley Cat Organization helped with the drafting of the ordinance.

It's still against city law to let your dogs run loose, but certain cats must also be restrained. Environmental health manager Tommy Wheeler said, "No animals are allowed to run at large except for altered cats. Altered cats can be allowed to run at large other than that no animal can run at large." And if they're picked up by animal control expect to pay a heftier fine. Animal shelter director, Gwen Gillespie said, "It's to punish the owners because they need to be responsible for their pets and stand up and take responsibility for them."

This is something a lot of Nacogdoches County pet owners don't do. Animal euthinizations are reported nationwide per one thousand population. Nacogdoches' stats are embarrassing to animal advocates. Doyle-Anderson explained, "Numbers like 30,33,39 are considered to be very bad. Nacogdoches has 92."

The tougher laws combined with more education and incentives for animal sterilization should improve animal welfare and public safety. The complete ordinance can be found on the city's website.