At-Large Position 5

Animals, Chapter 6

In January 2022, city council updated Chapter 6 of the code of ordinances dealing with animal welfare in Houston. I worked with the ARA, BARC, and key stakeholders from the animal welfare community to draft the revisions which include:

  • Instituting mandatory microchipping. You may speak with your vet or visit BARC’s wellness clinic for more information on how to microchip your pet. 
  • Updating “adequate shelter” standards, requiring outdoor animals always have access to clean drinking water and a shelter that is clean, sturdy, and protecting them from weather;
  • Addressing puppy mill retail sales to require all pet stores within city limits to sell only dogs and cats sourced from a humane organization or municipal/county animal shelter;
  • Updating the aggressive and dangerous dogs ordinance to streamline the procedure to designate a “dangerous dog” and strengthen the response to animals that attack other animals; and
  • Addressing stray animals by reducing the hold time on strays at BARC from 72 to 48 hours to allow for adoptions or transfers for animals without microchips.

FAQ's on the recent changes can be found here.

BARC provided an annual update at the June 27, 2023, Regulatory & Neighborhood Affairs committee meeting. Fiscal Year 2023 (FY 2023) and 2024 highlights include:

  • Compared to other Texas cities, Houston spends far less per capita on animal welfare services. This is why I have been a strong advocate for additional BARC resources, last year adding $500,000 to the BARC budget. This money will fund an adoption trailer and three new animal enforcement vehicles.
  • Since mandatory microchipping was implemented, BARC has seen a 16% increase in return to owner outcomes. 
  • City council approved funding for a new warehouse and replacement of the administration building, dome building, and outreach trailer in the five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).
  • Impounds increased to 10,003 – up 48% since FY 2022.
  • 18,413 animals were brought to BARC, with 61% of intake coming from field captures.
  • One pet store continues to violate the recently adopted humane pet store (no puppy mills!) ordinance. BARC cites the store regularly and our team is tracking this with municipal courts.

Since 2022, city council has allocated $1 ;million in ARPA funding for spay and neuter services across the city.  For information on BARC's wellness services, please visit BARC's website.

Sallie Alcorn with a Puppy
Emancipet Gala