Are you a new resident to the Dallas/Fort Worth area and a pet owner? Are you a current resident looking for additional resources? Thanks to the help of our friends at Human Animal Support Services and Dallas Animal Services, we’ve compiled a list of resources you may need as a pet owner in DFW including: Spaying/neutering services, assistance during hardships, what to do for sick animals, stray pets, and information on housing pet limits.
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What You Should Know about Pet Ordinances in Dallas
As a pet owner, you are responsible for the wellbeing, safety, and overall care of your pet! There are several pet laws you should be aware of in the City of Dallas:
Restraint of A Dog:
If your dog is outside, no matter the length of time, your pet needs to be secured in a fenced yard, enclosed pen or other structure that prevents them from escaping. Within the area, each adult dog must have at least 150 square feet of space to access shelter and clean water. You may only tether a dog if you are with the dog and the tether meets certain requirements outlined in The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act and Dallas Code 7-4.7.
Dogs that are not confined, must be restrained by a human with a leash. It is illegal to walk your dog off-leash unless you’re at a designated off-leash dog park. (Dallas Code 7-4.9)
All dogs and cats in the city of Dallas, must be microchipped; licensing/registration is no longer required. (Dallas Code 7-4.2)
Current on Vaccinations:
Dogs and cats need to be vaccinated against rabies and have proof of rabies by tag on their collar and proper documentation. (Dallas Code 7-4.1)
Pet owners living in a single-family unit and detached home may have up to six cats, or dogs, or a combination of both. If you live in an apartment, condominium, or other residences with common walls, the pet limit is four. (Dallas Code 7-4.6)
Pets and Vehicles:
A pet owner cannot knowingly confine a pet in an unattended motor vehicle for more than five minutes. (Dallas Code 7-4.13)
It’s against the law to carry an animal in the bed of a pick-up truck, unless the animal is in a carrier as outlined in Dallas Code 7-3.5.
Selling or Auctioning Animals:
It is against the law to sell, raffle, exchange, give away or auction a live animal as a prize. This includes businesses and charitable fundraising events. (Dallas Code 7-7.6)
What To Do If You Find Kittens
Start by determining if the kitten(s) you’ve found are injured or sick. If yes, call 311 to make a service request or go online to DallasCityHall.com. If no, you’ll need to determine the approximate age of the kittens.
Here are common traits to help you best determine the age for the kitten(s):
- 0-2 Weeks Old: eyes closed or barely open
- 2-4 Weeks Old: eyes open and alert, becoming mobile
- 4-6 Weeks Old: very mobile and often talkative; can eat food
- 6-8 Weeks Old: vert active and playful; around 1-2 pounds
- 8+ Weeks Old: very active and playful; 2+ pounds
Pause Here: If the kitten(s) are between 0-6 weeks old, do you see a mom cat or a nest nearby where you’ve discovered the kitten(s)?
- If yes: Don’t kit-nap! A kitten’s best chance of survival is with their mom. Be sure to leave the kittens where they are. You can further assist the kittens by making sure the mom cat has access to food, water, and shelter. Contact a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) group to have the mom and kitten(s) fixed when ready.
- If no: Are you 100% positive? The mom cat may be out hunting or may not want to be around when people are present. Watch for her to come back. Want to ensure there is a mom cat? Circle the kittens in a ring of flour and check back later to see if you notice the mom’s footprints in the flour.
If the kitten(s) you’ve found are between the ages of 6-8+ weeks old and are friendly, you can utilize social media or personal networks to try to find new furever homes.
If you’ve determined the kitten(s) does not have a mom, call 311 or make a service request online for confirmed orphaned kittens or to coordinate spay/neuter services. Visit DFWkittennetwork.com for more kitten care resources.
Is this Kitten Sick?
There’s several indicators to look for if you’ve found a kitten to determine if it is sick or injured.
Signs of a sick kitten:
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Pale gums and tongues
- Struggling to breath
- Cold eats, bellies, and paws
- Excessively crusted eyes or nose
- Thin stomachs and gaunt faces, visible ribs and spine
- Lethargy/almost no movement
Signs of an injured kitten:
- Crying out in pain
- Visible wounds or sores
If you do find an injured or critically sick kitten, call 311 or make a service request online.
Who Do I Call For…
If you spot any loose pets that are sick, injured, orphaned, in immediate danger, or are a threat to public safety, call 311. If you find a stray pet and are able to safely confine the pet to your house or hard, Animal Services Officers are available to pick up the animal once you report it to 311.
Sick or Injured Wildlife:
If you see sick or injured wildlife, call 311 immediately!
To report an animal bite, residents should call 311.
If you believe you need to surrender your pet, please call 311 to schedule a rehoming appointment. When you call 311, you’ll be connected to our Pet Support Call Center, a partnership with the Spay Neuter Network that helps provide pet owners with resources and other community services including pet food and medical assistance, with the ultimate goal to help you keep your pet.
Deceased Animal Pickup:
If your pet passes away, we are terribly sorry for your loss. Dallas Animal Services will pick up your deceased pet free of charge for Dallas residents. To contact our Animal Remains Team, call 311.
Are you facing hard times and need further assistance?
Here’s some great resources to help you in your time of need. We want to help you keep your pet and give them the best care possible!
Assistance with Pet Food:
The SPCA of Texas Pet Resource Center
The SPCA of Texas
311 is also Online! Download the “OurDallas” app or use 311 online at: dallascityhall.com. For more information and resources, head to DallasAnimalServices.org