Horwitz on Dog Laws

Via the Houston Chronicle. This op-ed contains many of the same quotes from Councilmember C.O. Bradford as my article last Wednesday, but with a very different theme. Simply put, it is about the exceptionalism of Houston’s governance, as compared to both Washington D.C. and Austin. As always, I hope you enjoy:

Regarding “Dog law” (Wednesday, Page B6), all sides agree that there is a great deal of good in the new ordinance. Among other things, it lowers the bar for authorities to deem a dog aggressive and cleans up some byzantine old regulations involving kennels. More impressive, though, is how City Council deliberated the contentious provisions of the ordinance. The debate last week best exemplifies what is right with Houston, specifically, how the council governs.

Under the ordinance approved 15-1 yesterday, BARC now may assume full ownership of your pet after six days if tagged, and after three if not. Previously, the limit was 30 days, though dogs could still be adopted out in the interim with the understanding that the previous owner could reclaim her or his pet. That shorter timeline drew ire in some quarters. Ultimately, it prompted Councilman C.O. Bradford to vote against the ordinance.


The Dog Code

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.


Click here to read more!

Ben Hall strikes back

Throughout this campaign season, I have been asking for Ben Hall to bring up some concise issues, and explain how he is specifically different form the Mayor on those issues. Over the past two days, for the first time, I have seen Dr Hall’s campaign do this.

First, Hall’s campaign sent me a press release on the topic of animal control in the City. Writing for the campaign, Hall’s press secretary noted three important facts. First, Annise Parker was an unapologetic supporter of making BARC (the pound) a no-kill shelter when she first ran for Mayor. Second, “save-rates” (that is, how many animals are not euthanized by the pound) have actually declined during Parker’s tenure in office. Instead of moving towards being a no-kill city, the Parker administration has actually moved away from that goal. Third, Ben Hall announced his support for making Houston a no-kill city.

In fact, at Wednesday’s press conference, Hall announced the support of “No Kill Texas Advocates,” an organization dedicated to pursuing this goal. Hall’s proposed solution to the problem, however, is somewhat divergent from other traditional no-kill advocates. Hall wished to implement increased privatization of the animal shelters. While it is a novel idea, I fail to understand why or how this would really solve the problem.

To read more about how this issue affects the election, click here!