Harris County has passed regulations regarding the ownership and treatment of animals. These regulations address topics such as the sale of animals, vaccinations, restraints, licenses, and dangerous dogs. Several of the regulations specifically address dog owner responsibilities.
Restraint and Impoundment
All dogs and cats must be kept under restraint while in the unincorporated areas of Harris County, Texas. A custodian of a dog or cat may not allow the animal to become a stray or keep an unlicensed dog or cat. The owner/keeper of a dog or cat is responsible for the behavior of his or her dog or cat.
Restraint is defined as the control of a dog or cat under three different circumstances:
- A person with the ability to control the animal holds a leash that is no more than six feet in length;
- The animal is in a fully enclosed vehicle; or
- The animal is on the custodian’s property and does not have access to a sidewalk or street.
When an officer discovers a stray, the officer has the discretion to impound the animal and/or cite the custodian for violation of the regulations. A stray is defined as “any animal not under restraint as defined by these Regulations.”
Harris County defines a dangerous dog as one: (1) that makes an unprovoked attack on a person causing bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog is kept; or (2) that makes unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was kept, and the acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily harm to that person.
Harris County provides a map of the location of dogs in Harris County that have been declared dangerous by a Harris County Justice of the Peace. http://harriscounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=bc063b6062ec4d86a282b13a0c566a7a
Harris County requires dogs and cats to receive rabies vaccinations. A three-year vaccination is acceptable in Harris County Texas. If an animal bites a person, the animal may be quarantined to ensure the animal does not have rabies. The owner/custodian of the animal is responsible for the cost of quarantine.
Sale of Live Animals
Harris County forbids the sale of live animals on public highways, roads, and parking lots. Sale includes trade, barter, donation, and placement fee.
If you would like to learn more about Harris County regulations, visit its website at the following: http://publichealth.harriscountytx.gov/Resources/Animals-and-Pets/AnimalLaws/AnimalRegulations
If you have been injured as a result of a dog bite or attack, contact The O’Hara Law Firm for a free consultation. Patrick O’Hara is a dog bite attorney that handles personal injury cases in Harris County and surrounding counties. The O’Hara Law Firm represents clients on a contingency fee basis. Call us at 832-956-1138.