Harris County Dog  Laws

A. All dogs and cats must be kept under restraint while in the unincorporated areas of Harris County, Texas. The custodian of a dog or cat is not authorized to have, harbor or keep any unlicensed dog or cat, or to allow any dog or cat to become a stray.

B. The custodian of every dog or cat is responsible for any behavior of a dog or cat under the provisions of these Regulations.


C. HCPH VPH and other persons designated by HCPH VPH have the authority to impound the following:


(1) All stray dogs and cats;


(2) Any animal that has bitten or scratched a person; and


(3) Any animal that has been exposed to rabies.


D. All animals seized and confined under this section should be impounded in an impoundment facility designated by HCPH VPH.



E. Animal Control Officers are authorized to enter any unsecured or unfenced lot, tract or parcel of land for the purpose of seizing any stray dog or cat.


F. Nothing in these Regulations should be construed as authority for Animal Control Officers, employees or their agents to enter buildings unless:


(1) the owner or other person with control over the premises consents to entry,


(2) a valid warrant is obtained, or


(3) exigent circumstances exist such that there is necessity to act immediately to protect or preserve life or to prevent serious injury to a person or an animal.


G. Any person may take and deliver to an Animal Control Officer or HCPH VPH any stray which HCPH VPH is, by the provisions of these Regulations, authorized to impound.


H. Each stray dog or cat is a public nuisance.


I. When dogs or cats are stray and their ownership is known to the Animal Control Officer, the officer has the discretion to:


(1) impound the animal; or


(2) cite the custodian of the animal to appear in a justice of the peace court to answer charges of violation of these Regulations; or


(3) impound the animal and cite the custodian of the animal to appear in a justice of the peace court to answer charges of violation of these Regulations.


(4) issue the custodian of the animal a warning for violation of these Regulations and return the animal to its custodian.


J. Upon receiving any dog or cat, HCPH VPH should make a complete record of the breed, color and sex of the animal and the place and time it was caught. If the animal has a license tag, the name and address of the custodian and the number of the vaccination and/or license tag is to be included in the record.


K. The custodian of any licensed impounded animal may redeem such dog or cat during regular business hours of the HCPH animal shelter, prior to the animal's adoption, sale or destruction, by:


(1) Payment of a $10.00 per day boarding fee for each day or portion of day the dog or cat has been impounded if it is the first impoundment of the animal and if the dog or cat is Currently Vaccinated-HC or Currently Vaccinated-ST, Licensed, wearing identification, and is neutered/spayed at the time of impoundment.



(2) Payment of a $30.00 impounding fee and a $10.00 per day board fee for each day or portion of day the dog or cat has been impounded if it is the first impoundment of the animal and if the dog or cat is neutered/spayed at the time of impoundment but does not meet the other requirements set forth in subsection (1), above.


(3) Payment of a $40.00 impounding fee and $10.00 per day board fee for each day or portion of day the dog or cat has been impounded if it is the first impoundment of the animal and if the dog or cat does not meet any of the other requirements set forth in subsection (1), above.


(4) Payment of an $80.00 impounding fee and a $10.00 per day board fee for each day or portion of day the dog or cat has been impounded if it is the second impoundment of the animal.


(5) Payment of a $120.00 impounding fee and a $10.00 per day board fee for each day or portion of day the dog or cat has been impounded if it is the third or more impoundment of the animal.


(6) Payment of an additional $35.00 to the impounding fee for a biting dog or cat and payment of an additional $2.00 per day/partial day boarding fee. ($12.00 per day or partial day)


(7) Payment of the applicable impounding fee and $12.00 per day/partial day boarding fee for an animal pending a hearing or after the animal has been determined to be dangerous.


(8) Notwithstanding the previous subsections, at the time of redemption if the owner of the animal provides proof that the dog or cat has been vaccinated within twelve months immediately preceding its impoundment, the animal does not have to be revaccinated.


(9) Payment of the cost of medical/surgical procedures performed on the dog or cat during the impoundment.


L. The custodian of any unlicensed impounded animal may redeem such animal during regular business hours of the HCPH animal shelter prior to its adoption or destruction by having the animal duly vaccinated and licensed and:


(1) Payment of a $40.00 impounding fee and a $10.00 per day board fee for each day or portion of day the dog or cat has been impounded, plus payment of the cost of the license and vaccination for the animal if it is the first impoundment of the animal.


(2) Payment of a $30.00 impounding fee and a $10.00 per day board fee for each day or portion of day the dog or cat has been impounded plus payment of the cost of the license and vaccination if it is the first impoundment of the animal and if the dog or cat is neutered/spayed at the time of impoundment.


(3) Payment of a $80.00 impoundment fee and a $10.00 per day board fee for each day or portion of day the dog or cat has been impounded, plus payment of the cost of the license and vaccination for the animal if it is the second impoundment of the animal.


(4) Payment of a $120.00 impoundment fee and a $10.00 per day board fee for each day or portion of day the dog or cat has been impounded, plus payment of the cost of the license and vaccination for the animal if it is the third or more impoundment of the animal.


(5) Payment of an additional $35.00 to the impounding fee for a biting dog or cat and payment of an additional $2.00 per day/partial day boarding fee. ($12.00 per day or partial day).


(6) Payment of the applicable impounding fee and $12.00 per day/partial day boarding fee for an animal pending a hearing or after the animal has been determined to be dangerous.


(7) Notwithstanding the previous subsections, at the time of redemption if the owner of the animal provides proof that the dog or cat is Currently Vaccinated-HC or Currently Vaccinated-ST, the animal does not have to be revaccinated.


M. HCPH VPH is authorized to waive or reduce a fee when financial hardship would otherwise prevent an owner from claiming a dog or cat and the animal, if not reclaimed, would contribute to overcrowding at the shelter or would be euthanized. HCPH VPH may consider an owner’s assets, liabilities, income, expenses, and extenuating circumstances in determining financial hardship.


N. HCPH VPH shall keep all healthy unclaimed dogs and cats for a period of three (3) working days. At the expiration of that time if a dog or cat has not been claimed or redeemed by the owner, it may be put up for adoption, sold, transferred to other animal welfare agencies for adoption or humanely euthanized. Cats that are part of a trap, neuter, release program and returned to the area from which they came are not subject to the three-day hold or the above provisions of this subsection. All actions taken under this section shall be conducted as required under the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. Section 2131 et. seq.).


O. Any animal impounded under the terms of these Regulations and not redeemed within three (3) working days may be adopted or sold for the best price.


P. All animals impounded under these Regulations that are not redeemed, adopted, or sold as provided herein should be humanely killed.


Q. All moneys collected by HCPH VPH under the terms of these Regulations must be placed in a special fund under the control of the Commissioners Court and be used only for defraying the expenses of administration and enforcement of these Regulations.


R. No person may interfere with, hinder or molest any Animal Control Officer, or other party designated by HCPH VPH, in the performance of any duty delegated in these Regulations, nor shall any person seek to release any animal impounded under the provisions of these Regulations except as herein provided.

346-571-1579

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