Lost pets will be held for six days instead of 72 hours, under an updated policy approved Feb. 4 by the City Council.
That and other changes were made so that Southlake’s rules are similar to those of Keller and Colleyville. The three cities partner in regional animal control services and an adoption center, so enforcement is easier if the policies mesh.
Residents who came to earlier council meetings had asked for an extension of the 72-hour holding period. Police Chief Steve Mylett changed it to six days if the animal is registered and its owner identified.
Keller Police Capt. Mike Wilson, who oversees Animal Services, said the end of the holding period is not a death sentence — if an owner can’t be reached, the animal is assessed for adoption or rescue.
As before, all cats and dogs must be registered and wear collars and tags. There is no registration fee.
“Really, it protects the animal and expedites reuniting animals with their owner,” Mylett said. “If an employee can identify an owner on the field they’ll take them home.”
Councilwoman Carolyn Morris expressed concerns about keeping a collar and tags on a cat. Mylett said owners will have a chance to put the collar and tag back on the animal before receiving a citation.
“Citations will only be issued in extreme cases,” he said.
Morris also campaigned to increase the limit of dogs and cats in all households from four to six, saying she knows residents that already have that many.
“I just don’t want people to have to get rid of them,” she said. “They’re like their babies.”
The original proposed policy limited fowl to six per home, but the limit was removed in the final version. Instead, any problems will be addressed if the birds are a nuisance to neighbors.
The council approved the update 6-1 at its Feb. 4 meeting. Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Muller opposed because she did not agree with regulating the types of pets people can have.
The policy bans “animals not normally considered domesticated and capable of (or inclined to do) serous bodily harm to humans or other animals or fowl as determined by the City.”
The list includes skunks, pythons, primates, bears, elephants and more.
Now that Keller and Southlake have approved their updated policies, Colleyville will begin to work on its version.