Manvel City Council voted to move forward with changes to its animal ordinance that would create new requirements for those who own or care for animals.

However, a few key amendments, including definitions and requirements surrounding kennels, catteries and animal rescue permitting, were cut ahead of the vote due to concerns from residents.

The vote is the first of two needed for the changes to go into effect, with the second one expected to come at City Council’s July 15 meeting, officials said.

What you need to know

Manvel city officials proposed the ordinance to strengthen the city’s policies surrounding animals, including spaying and neutering, microchipping, and preventing animal abandonment, city officials said.

The changes that received the first of two approvals on July 1 include provisions such as:
  • Requirements to register pets through the Manvel Police Department annually
  • Microchipping requirements with some exceptions
  • Requirements for spaying and neutering with some exceptions
  • Hearings and punishments for violating the ordinance
  • Specific requirements for rabid or vicious dogs
  • Permits for animal sellers
  • Petting zoo requirements
The amendments that were cut included articles detailing requirements and definitions for kennels and catteries, including requiring them to obtain rescue permits from the city’s animal control department.

The final vote was 6-1, with council member Keith Bonner the lone vote against.

What they said

Officials cited the need for the ordinance due to the lack of available space to care for loose animals and the lack of groups available to take them in. Problems with abandoning animals have cropped up in the city, Police Chief Thomas Traylor said.

Nearly every resident who spoke at the meeting said they wanted the item tabled over concerns of vague language, and the requirements for rescue groups and foster homes to register with the city.

Donna Jarvis, the founder of Lone Star Pawz, which is a nonprofit animal rescue organization that works with the city, said she felt those fostering animals would not want to have licenses to do so. This sentiment was shared by resident and fosterer Cynthia Cortinas.

“I am really opposed to this ordinance,” Cortinas said at the meeting. “To have to pay to be a foster—that’s ridiculous to have to have a permit when you’re doing rescue.”

City officials recommended cutting the portions of the ordinance that included such requirements for rescue groups, foster homes, kennels and catteries but pushed to move forward with language on personal pet registration and microchipping.

Stay tuned

City officials and residents expressed interest in having some kind of forum where community stakeholders could come together and hash out more details about registration, pet limits and fee requirements.

In the meantime, the ordinance will have to get a second approval before it can go into effect. As a result, officials have until the next meeting on July 15 to shore up the policy and make other changes before the second vote.

However, officials also said it’s possible the ordinance will be treated as a working document, meaning other changes could come down the road as well.

As part of that, a brainstorming meeting is scheduled for July 10, Mayor Dan Davis said in a July 2 social media post.