Pet Owning 101: Laguna Vista officials talk leash laws, other duties

LAGUNA VISTA — Pets are the responsibility of the owner.

In the past couple of weeks, Laguna Vista officials said they’ve experienced a relatively high incidence of loose or unleashed dogs.

“We know most of these dogs have owners,” said City Manager Rolando Vela.

Vela reminds pet owners there are certain rules they are required to follow.

The owner of a dog, cat or other animal is required to provide humane shelter from heat, cold, rain or other conditions that could be harmful to the animal.

“Animals also must be provided with adequate food and drink to maintain them in good health. It is the pet owner’s responsibility to ensure that the animal is not treated in a cruel or inhumane manner,” Vela said.

Other requirements

Leashing and Containment Requirements

H It is unlawful for any person or persons owning or controlling a dog, cat or other animal to permit the animal to run at large. When on any street or any other public place in Laguna Vista, all animals must be attached to a leash, which is securely held by a competent person.

H On private property, animals must be leashed and under the control of a competent person or confined in such a manner as to prevent them from straying from the premises. Leashing is not required only when the animal remains in an enclosure on the owner’s property.

Animal Waste and Public Nuisance

H Pet owners are required to exercise proper care and control of their animals and prevent them from becoming a public nuisance.

The term “public nuisance” is defined by such behaviors as molesting passersby or passing vehicles, attacking other animals or people, damaging private or public property in any way, causing unsanitary or dangerous conditions, barking, whining, howling, or making other loud audible noises in a continuous or untimely manner.

H It is unlawful for a pet owner to allow the animal to defecate on any public or private property owned by others unless the custodian of the pet immediately removes all the feces the animal deposits.

Any person walking a pet is required by ordinance to carry on his or her person, a device or container sufficient to clean up after the animal.

H Animals that frequently or habitually yelp or howl or present immediate threat of attacking or biting are prohibited. Any animal that causes fear or annoyance to persons in the immediate area will be considered a public nuisance.

Vela said the town will continue to actively enforce its ordinances.

“We expect pet owners to be responsible citizens of our community,” Vela said.

To raise further awareness, town leaders will be initiating a community-wide campaign on the importance of being responsible pet owners and to educate the community on the ordinance the town currently has in place.