Lubbock CODE OF ORDINANCES - Chapter 4 - Animals


Section 4-1. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases and words and their derivations shall have the following meanings:

Animal means any living creature except human beings classified as a member of the Kingdom Animalia and including, but not limited to, mammals, birds, reptiles and fish.

Animal control facility means an establishment operated by the City of Lubbock for the temporary confinement, safekeeping and control of animals which come into the custody of the City of Lubbock.

Animal establishment means any facility or business that has custody or control of animals within the City of Lubbock including, but not limited to, pet shops, pet grooming facilities, animal auction facilities or kennels, but not including veterinary or medical facilities, research facilities licensed by government agencies or facilities operated by government agencies unless such facilities or government agencies sell, groom or board animals for profit.

Animal dealer means any person, partnership or corporation engaging in the business of buying, selling or trading animals for profit to others.  This definition does not include individual sales of animals by private owners to other private owners.

Assistance animal means any animal trained to assist a handicapped person.

At large means an animal (other than a house cat) that is out of the fenced premises of the person owning, or having charge, custody or control of the animal and not under the immediate control of a person by means of a cage, leash, rope or other means of immediate effective physical control or restraint.  The term shall not include animals being trained or exhibited while under the immediate physical or vocal control of a person.

Auction means any place or facility where animals are regularly bought, sold or traded.  This definition does not apply to individual sales of animals by private owners.

City enforcement agent means the City of Lubbock Animal Control Supervisor, his authorized representatives, or a law enforcement officer.  The animal control supervisor shall be responsible for the enforcement of this chapter and any regulations promulgated hereunder, unless otherwise provided by law.

Dangerous animal means any individual animal which, because of its physical nature or vicious propensity, is capable of inflicting serious physical harm or death to human beings and would constitute a danger to human life or property; or any animal which has behaved in such a manner that the owner thereof knows or reasonably should know that the animal is possessed of tendencies to attack or to injure human beings or other animals; or any animal certified by a doctor of veterinary medicine, after observation thereof, as posing a danger to human beings, animals or property upon the basis of reasonable medical probability; or any animal that commits an unprovoked attack on a human being; or any animal that exhibits a repeated propensity to commit unprovoked attacks on other domestic animals.

Department means the City of Lubbock Health Dept.

Domestic animal means any animal whose physiology has been determined or manipulated through selective breeding and which does not occur naturally in the wild and which may be vaccinated against rabies with an approved rabies vaccine and which has an established rabies guarantee observation period.

Guard dog means a dog trained and used in law enforcement, security or protective functions, responsive to control by its owner or handler and used only for authorized functions.

Inhumane treatment of animals means any treatment of an animal prohibited by Section 42.11 of the Texas Penal Code, chapter 821 of the Health and Safety Code, or by any other provision of law, including federal, state and local laws, ordinances or rules.

Kennels, commercial, for purposed of this chapter only, means any establishment where a person, partnership or corporation keeps dogs or cats for the purpose of breeding, buying, selling, trading, showing, training or boarding such animals for profit.

Owner means any person, partnership, corporation, association or legal entity that harbors, shelters, keeps, controls, manages, possesses or has whole or part interest in any animal.  The occupant, owner or head of household of any premises where an animal remains for seventy-two (72) hours or more shall be rebuttably presumed to be the owner of such animal.

Public nuisance means the conduct of any owner in allowing an animal to:

  1. Engage in conduct which establishes such animal is a "dangerous animal;"
  2. Damage, soil, defile or defacate on private property other than the owner's or on public property unless such waste is immediately removed and properly disposed of by the owner of the animal;
  3. Be "at large" (excluding house cats);
  4. Cause a disturbance by excessive barking or noise making near the private residence of another;
  5. Produce odors or unclean conditions sufficient to annoy persons living in the vicinity; or
  6. Chase vehicles, or molest, attack or interfere with other animals or persons on public property;

Restraint means to control an animal by physical means so that it remains on the premises of the owner, or, when off the owner's premises, by means of a cage, leash, rope or confinement within an enclosed vehicle.

Sterilized means an animal rendered incapable of reproduction.

Vaccination means inoculation of an animal with a rabies vaccine that is licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture for use in that species and which is administered by a veterinarian for the purpose of immunizing the animal against rabies.

Veterinary hospital means any establishment maintained and operated by a licensed veterinarian for surgery, diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of animals.

Wild animal means any animal not normally considered domesticated which, because of its size, vicious nature or other natural characteristic would constitute a danger to human life, property or domestic animals, including, but not limited to, the following animals:

  1. Reptiles: venomous reptiles, crocodiles or alligators;
  2. Birds: eagles, owls and any spcies illegal to own under federal or state law;
  3. Mammals: ocelots, lions, tigers, jaguars, leopards, cougars, wolves, dingoes, coyotes, jackals, weasels, martins, minks, badgers, raccoons, pandas, bears, kangaroos, opossums, sloths, anteaters, armadillos, monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, porcupines, antelope, deer, bison, and camels.

Section 4-2. Penalties.

Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) as set by a judge or jury.

Section 4-3. Enforcement.

The city enforcement agent shall be responsible for enforcement of this chapter, except as may be herein provided.  Enforcement may be by the filing of a criminal complaint in municipal court or by civil proceedings to enjoin nuisances or in any other manner authorized by law.

Section 4-4. Animal care generally.

Animals shall be cared for, treated and transported in a humane manner and not in violation of Section 42.11 of the Texas Penal Code, Title 10 of the Health and Safety Code, or any other provision of law, including federal, state and local laws, ordinances and rules.

In addition, a person commits an offense if:

  1. A person other than a licensed veterinarian docks an animal's tail or crops an animal's ears;
  2. A person sells, delivers, trades or barters a dog, cat or rabbit less than six (6) weeks old;
  3. A person dyes or colors chicks, ducks or rabbits;
  4. A person sells, delivers, trades or barters chickens or ducks less than three (3) weeks old in lots of less than twenty-five (25) animals;
  5. A person abandons or dumps any animal;
  6. A person who is in control of a motor vehicle which strikes a domestic animal fails to report the accident to the city animal control facility as soon as possible;
  7. A person treats an animal in an inhumane or cruel manner as defined by Section 42.11, Penal Code and Chapter 821, Health & Safety Code;
  8. A person causes an animal to fight another animal or person (this chapter shall not be interpreted to restrict rodeos, 4H Clubs or FFA Club activities and operations);
  9. A person fails to provide his animal with adequate wholesome food and water, proper shelter and protection from inclement weather and veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering;
  10. A person, firm or corporation shall raise or kill a dog or cat for the skin or fur;
  11. A person, firm or corporation shall mutilate any animal, whether such animal is dead or alive (medical or veterinary medical research, medical or veterinary medical autopsies, and biology class use of animals shall not be considered mutilation);
  12. A person shall engage or allow another to engage in any sexual act with an animal;
  13. A person allows a stray animal to remain on their property without notifying the city animal control facility of such fact within twenty-four (24) hours; and
  14. A person transporting an animal fails to effectively restrain such animal so as to prevent the animal from leaving or being accidently thrown from the vehicle during normal operation of the vehicle or fails to restrain the animal so as to prevent infliction of bodily harm to passerby.
  15. A person who owns or is in control of an animal permits such animal to be at large within the City of Lubbock.

Section 4-5. Leaving animal unattended in vehicle.

A person having charge or custody of an animal shall not place or confine such animal or allow such animal to be placed or confined in a motor vehicle or trailer under such conditins or for such a period of time as may endanger the health of the animal due to heat, lack of food or water, or such other circumstnces as may cause injury or death of the animal.  City enforcement agents finding an animal being held in violation of this provision may obtain a search warrant from a justice of the peace pursuant to Section 821.022 of the Health and Safety Code and may impound such animal pending a hearing.

Section 4-6. Right of entry; search warrants.

The city enforcement agent and city police officers are hereby authorized to enter upon any unfenced lot, tract or parcel of land for the purpose of capturing and impounding any animal running at large thereon, which authorization is granted due to the emergency created by the potential rabies hazard or danger of injury to persons and other animals and in recognition of the likelihood such animal will otherwise escape capture.  Further, in the event the city enforcement agent has reason to believe an animal has been or is being cruelly treated or has rabies, he may obtain a search warrant from a justice of the peace and impound such animal even if it is enclosed on private property.

Section 4-7. Interference with impounding officers.

It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with or attempt to prevent the city enforcement agent or any city police officer from capturing or impounding any animal running at large, whether on public or private property.

Section 4-8. Impoundment; redemption; disposition.

(a) It is the duty of the enforcement agent to capture and impound such animals as are running at large or which are required to be impounded pursuant to other laws or ordinances and to accept any animal delivered to the animal control facility pursuant to the requirements of this chapter.  In addition, it is the duty of the enforcement agent to capture and impound house cats as well as other animals in response to citizen complaints or to control feral populations.

(b) The city enforcement agent or his deputies upon receiving an animal for impoundment shall make a complete registry, including the species, breed, color and sex of such animal, whether it is licensed, and the time and place of taking custody.  If the animal has been licensed, he shall enter the name and address of the veterinary clinic, year and the number of the license tag.  Licensed animals shall be kept separate from unlicensed animals.

(c) If, by license tag, the owner of an impounded animal can be identified, the city enforcement agent shall, as soon as possible, notify the owner by telephone or mail.

(d) Impounded, unlicensed animals shall be kept for not less than three (3) days, unless earlier reclaimed by the owner under acceptable conditions; and impounded licensed animals shall be kept for not less than ten (10) days, unless earlier reclaimed by the owner under acceptable conditions.  However, no impoundment period is required for an animal voluntarily delivered to the animal control facility by its owner.

(e) The animal control supervisor may dispose of impounded animals after the expiration of any required impoundment period by auction, humanely destroying the animal or offering it to a local animal humane group for adoption.

(f) Any impounded licensed or unlicensed animal which appears to be suffering from serious injury or disease and which is in great pain and suffering and probably will not recover or which appears to have an infectious disease which is a danger to humans or to other animals in the opinion of the animal control supervisor, may be destroyed immediately by the animal control agent.  In the event such an animal is licensed, the city enforcement agent shall attempt to notify the owner by telephone before taking action.

(g) It shall be unlawful for a person to fail or refuse to deliver an unlicensed or unvaccinated animal to a city enforcement agent or police officer upon demand for impounding.

Section 4-9. Sale or destruction of impounded animals.

(a) The city enforcement agent may sell impounded animals at a public auction for cash after any required impoundment period has passed without such animal being reclaimed by its owner.  Notice of such public auction shall be given at least one week before such sale by publishing such a notice in a daily newspaper published in the City of Lubbock.  In addition, animals being held pursuant to an order of a county judge in accordance with chapter 821 of the Health and Safety Code shall be disposed of in accordance with such chapter.

(b) Any animal impounded under the provisions of this chapter which is not sold at public auction may be humanely destroyed or offered to a local animal humane group for adoption by the city enforcement agent.

(c) The city enforcement agent shall keep a record giving a description of all animals sold at auction, including the date of impounding, the date of sale, the amount received for the animal and the name and address of the purchaser.

(Ord. No. 9485, 1, 11-14-91)