HOUSTON - "There are neighborhoods across Houston where it is their number one issue, the stray dog situation," said Sallie Alcorn, Houston City Councilmember at Large Position 5. "They don't feel safe going outside taking a jog or whatever without carrying a big stick or being afraid."
We've been telling you about Houston's animal overpopulation problem for years now.
An ordinance unanimously passed by Houston City Council should change that.
"It's been many, many years since these ordinances have been updated and they were very antiquated," said Tena Lundquist Faust, Co-President of Houston PetSet.
Now instead of getting a tag when you license your pet, you must have them microchipped.
"We're going to be offering a number of free microchipping events," Alcorn said. "I know there's some applications being made for federal funding to pay for that for those who can't afford it."
"If they're found on the street, then they can immediately be returned to the owner in lieu of going to the shelter and have their owner find them in one of the many shelters," Lundquist Faust said. "This is a good thing for pets for pet owners for the city for everybody."
Not taking microchipped animals to shelters will free up more space.
The new ordinance also prohibits pet stores within city limits from selling dogs from puppy mills.
"I think five or six in Houston that sell pets that may come from one of those disreputable puppy mill situations," Alcorn said.
"In a city where we still euthanize for space, where animals are dying on our streets every day, there's no point in us importing animals from out of state to supply pet stores," said Lundquist Faust.
Now pet stores in the city will have to sell dogs from shelters and rescue groups.
On Tuesday, a new state law went into effect that protects tethered dogs.
"We are making major changes in the way animals are treated and how we view them in the city of Houston and the state of Texas," Lundquist Faust said.
The ordinance goes into effect immediately, but there will be a one-year grace period for pet owners and pet stores to come into compliance.