New pet ordinances require clarifications

On Wednesday, the city of Harlingen approved several changes to current animal ordinances. There has been mass confusion regarding the new ordinances. Please allow me to clarify the changes.

Effective on Jan. 1, 2017 all dogs and cats are required to be microchipped. No one will be going door to door checking your pets.

The fines are only for “Animals Running At Large.” If your pet is caught running at large and is not spayed or neutered, the fines will be much higher for those animals. The fine for the first offense will be $266 with the option to be reduced by $200 if you chose to spay or neuter your pet.

If you choose not to spay or neuter your pet on that first offense and your pet is caught running at large again the fine will be $316 and goes up for each additional time the pet is caught, going as high as $2,000. These are the animals roaming the streets breeding at will – a major source of all animal shelters problems.

The Humane Society of Harlingen did not ask for mandatory spay/neuter, as we would rather educate than mandate. We feel the mandatory micro-chipping is in the animals’ best interest. The faster we can locate the pet’s owner will help cut down on euthanizing, as when we take in a new animal one must either must be adopted or put down.

Another is the number of animals residents in city limits are allowed to have has been raised from three to five. This includes indoor and outdoor pets. However TNR cats or Community Cats that are ear-tipped (indicating they have been spayed/ neutered) are no longer required to have id tags and do not count as owned cats.

If you have any questions regarding any of these new ordinances please give us a call at 956-425-7297 and we will be happy to answer any questions.

Thank you,

Pat Turman-White

President, Humane Society of Harlingen