The code was officially updated during the Sept. 16 meeting and now contains clarified definitions and regulations for animals and pets within the city, including an update mandating that all dogs and cats be either tagged, tattooed or microchipped in what has been redefined as a mandate for “traceable identification.”
Lakeway Police Department Chief Todd Radford has been heading up the code update effort, and during the Sept. 16 meeting he said all of the previous recommendations have been taken into account upon the most recent code update.
"I like that we have disbanded an antiquated process," Mayor Sandy Cox said of the code update.
Among many revisions, the new code defines acceptable care and living conditions for animals; develops permit systems and regulations for commercial facilities, such as kennels; regulates acceptable animal restraints, including leashes; define how many animals are permitted per owner; regulates enforcement guidelines for animals left in hot cars and tethered outside in extreme weather; clarifies the differences between domestic versus wild animals; and defines fencing and enclosure requirements for pets.
The change to the city code also solidifies other policy revisions discussed during an Aug. 12 council session item that brought forth definitional expansions of what constitutes a public nuisance or vicious animal and the conditions through which they can be removed from the city.
Other final revisions changed the traceable identification for animals from four months to when the animal is weaned, added an exception to the definition of "cruelty to animals" to allow the city's deer control program, and changed leash requirements to require dogs on 25-foot leashes in public parks to have their leashes retracted near people or other animals to no more than 6 feet.
Unchanged in the code are the $50 general impound flat fee for animals without traceable identification, the $50 per day fee for first offenders and the $100 per day fee for repeat offenders.
In a related matter, Lakeway City Council Member Louis Mastrangelo donated a handheld thermal infrared camera to the Lakeway Police Department.
A city document states the primary use for the Fluke TIS40 9HZ model camera, valued at $3,586, is to locate lost animals in heavily wooded, vegetated or darkly lit areas, and for that reason it will go to the Lakeway police's animal control officer.
“Since receiving the device, Council Member Mastrangelo has found its personal use fun but limiting,” the document states.