The Houston Chronicle published a rather lengthy profile late last night on a proposed revamping of BARC regulations, otherwise colloquially known (by me) as the “dog code.” The Chronicle article put me to sleep though, so this other article in the Houston Press might liven up your day a little in comparison, though it is startlingly incomplete when dealing with the many issues that will soon go before the Council.
The alt-weekly mainly deals with some inside baseball involving bad blood between breeders and dog rescue groups, and how all this will affect one very specific component of the proposed regulation overhaul. Specifically, a provision that allows BARC (Bureau of Animal Regulation & Control, otherwise known as the pound) to assume legal ownership of stray animals after either three or six days, depending on identification. The current time frame is 30 days for the original owner to reclaim ownership. The proves for some very messy disputes if a dog is adopted out on Day 8 and then the deadbeat owner shows up on Day 28, as the Press article explained in excruciating detail.
The Chronicle article also notes that an easier standard would be used before BARC could deem an animal “aggressive,” using a policy that would not, necessarily, require a hearing/due process unless the owner specifically appealed and requested one. An aggressive dog would also be required to be confined in a fence, as well as “microchipped, neutered and tagged.” Violations thereof would lead to citations, many of which would, in turn, lead to removal.
Another regulation proposed would be to “force groups of four or more dogs to be housed at least 100 feet from homes.”
The combined effect of all these proposals would ostensibly be to reduce the kill rate at the City’s many pounds. As the astute will surely recall, Mayor Annise Parker does not exactly have a glistening record in this department. Ben Hall even made a surprisingly pointed criticism of the Mayor on this topic late in last year’s campaign. That being said, I think this will be a good start for more good things to come.
This will be a big issue come tomorrow when the Council first debates the matter. No doubt, it will get tagged, meaning a one-week delay will occur.