Is six chickens too few? Should cats be forced to wear collars and tags? Is three days long enough for Animal Services to hold a lost pet?
These were the questions City Council tackled as it reviewed proposed animal-related policies in zoning and the city’s Code of Ordinance at the Jan. 21 meeting.
“I think it’s fair to say that the takeaway from this is that Southlake cares about its pets,” Mayor John Terrell said.
As the city partners with neighboring Keller and Colleyville to have a regional Animal Services and Adoption Center, the three cities are creating a similar ordinance to better multimunicipal enforcement.
“There may be some nuances but it’d be almost impossible to enforce all this stuff if all three cities are significantly different in their documentation,” Terrell said.
Keller has already passed its ordinance, and Colleyville plans to review the new proposal following the approval of Southlake’s.
One of the top concerns was a change to hold lost pets for three days as opposed to seven. Animal Services will store an animal for 72 hours before either putting the animal up for adoption, or if it’s rescuable, training the dog to be adoption ready.
Keller Police Capt. Mike Wilson oversees Animal Services and tried to address the policy.
“When the three-day hold period expires it’s not a death sentence for these animals,” he said.
Resident Lisa Stokdyk brought her pup, Cissy Hillary, to the meeting and shared her concerns about the time limit to the Council.
“I’m a flight attendant, we’ve got 72-hour trips,” she said.
Southlake Police Chief Steve Mylett stressed that the goal is to reunite pets with their owners. If Animal Services staff can locate an owner they can hold the animal past the 72 hours.
Councilman Martin Schelling wanted to change the policy that limited homes to six fowl because his neighbors, who have chickens, say six is not enough. He said instead focusing on if the animals become nuisances.
“I hate to adopt an ordinance when we know the norm out there is more than six chickens,” he said.
Another rule that drew contention was that dogs and cats must wear collars and ID tags.
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Muller suggested encouraging owners to have animals wear tags, but not make it mandatory.
“Especially with cats, it’s just a problem with them keeping the tags on,” she said.
City staff will work to address the issues brought up before the second reading Feb. 4.