Dogs and cats could soon be required to be microchipped rather than registered with the city of Lakeway.
At a special meeting Aug. 12, Lakeway City Council discussed the updated policy within the city code. As part of the new requirement, pet registration fees would no longer be mandated by the city, according to officials.
Other policy revisions discussed as part of that agenda item included the definitional expansion of what constitutes a public nuisance or vicious animal and the conditions through which they can be removed from the city.
The updates also define acceptable care and living conditions for animals, develop permit systems and regulations for commercial facilities such as kennels, and regulate acceptable animal restraints, including leashes.
Asked by Mayor Sandy Cox why Lakeway should require microchipping, Lakeway Police Chief Todd Radford said that is the easiest way to relocate an animal back to its owner.
“The idea is to get the animal back to its home as fast as possible,” Radford said, adding the new policy would be enforced whenever relevant Lakeway staff come across an animal that is not microchipped. “Part of this is going to be an educational process as well. We’re not wanting to be heavy-handed, but we’re wanting to make sure the animals are safe.”
Council provided several clarifications to the proposed updates that sought to further define commercial facilities, animals that are public nuisances, how many animals are permitted per owner, enforcement guidelines for animals left in hot cars and tethered outside in extreme weather, domestic versus wild animals and even fencing and enclosure requirements for pets.
Cox said the Aug. 12 discussion constituted a first reading of the code update, and council will revisit the item with clarified terms and language, possibly at the Aug. 19 regular meeting.
Given the number of clarifications raked over during the more than 90-minute discussion, Cox said the final reading of the animal code revisions could possibly come back to council later than that.
“What I’d really like to do is look at a clean copy [of the code update] during our second reading,” Cox said.