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Interested in Staying Up to Date on Local Animal Ordinances?

Way to be informed!


Waco's Animal Ordinances are found in Chapter 5 of the Code of Ordinances. Many of the area communities that contract with the Waco Shelter have similar ordinances (including requirements for spay/neuter and microchips). However, some animal ordinances may vary from city to city. 



FAQ about Waco's Animal Ordinance

1. Does the City of Waco have spay, neuter, and microchip requirements for pets?

Yes, the City of Waco has specific spay, neuter, and microchip requirement for pets. 

Waco Code of Ordinances Sec. 5-210. : All dogs or cats in the corporate city limits shall be spayed/neutered. The owner of such animals must retain documentation of the spay/neuter of their animals. All dogs or cats impounded within the corporate city limits will be spayed/neutered prior to being released to the owner. 

There are exceptions to the spay/neuter requirements which can be found in Sec. 5-210(c)

Waco Code of Ordinances Sec. 5-206. : All dogs or cats in the corporate city limits must be microchipped. All dogs or cats will be microchipped prior to leaving the animal shelter. All impounded dogs or cats without a microchip implanted shall have a microchip inserted between its shoulder blades before being released to its owner. 

2. Does the City of Waco have a breeder's permit?

No, there is no breeder's permit for the City of Waco. 

3. Does the City of Waco have pet licensing requirements?

No, the City of Waco does not have pet licensing requirements. However, some of the area cities within McLennan County do. Be sure to check the local ordinances for those cities. 

4. Does the City of Waco have a pet limit for residents?

No, the City of Waco does not have a generalized pet limit for residents. However, Waco Animal Care is allowed to set limits on the number of pets for citizens on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, all animals in the home must be compliant (meet the requirements outlined in the City of Waco Code of Ordinances - spayed or neutered, microchipped, current on rabies vaccine). Some surrounding communities DO have pet limits for citizens. Be sure to check the local ordinances for those cities. 

5. Can the Waco Shelter accept ear-tipped cats and other Community Cats?

No, the Waco Shelter is not legally allowed to accept ear-tipped cats and Community Cats unless they need veterinary care per Waco Code of Ordinances Sec. 5-176(c).

6. Where can I find Waco's legal definition of a Community Cat?

Waco Code of Ordinances Sec. 5-1. Definitions.

7. Can citizens sell pets in a public location within Waco City Limits?

No. As noted in Waco Code of Ordinances Sec. 5-131. : It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, trade, barter, lease, rent, give away, or convey the ownership of any animal on any roadside, public right-of-way, commercial parking lot, garage sale, flea market, festival, park, community center, or outdoor public place. It shall be unlawful for any person to display any animal for a commercial purpose on any roadside, public right-of-way, commercial parking lot, garage sale, flea market, festival, park, community center, or outdoor public place. This section shall not apply to any tax-exempt non-profit organization founded for the purpose of providing humane sanctuary or shelter for abandoned or unwanted animals or any organization recognized by the animal authority. Any animal being conveyed in a manner in violation of this Code shall be subject to seizure and impoundment at the discretion of the authority and subject to applicable codes for disposition of impounded animals.

8. How long must the Waco Shelter hold impounded pets for their owners to reclaim them?

The holding period for pets at the Waco Shelter is defined in Sec. 5-1. Definitions in the Waco Code of Ordinances as follows - Holding period shall mean 72 hours starting at the time an animal is impounded, but not including hours that fall on days the shelter is closed to the public.

Animals are available for reclamation during the holding period. Exceptions can be made for animals who are irremediably suffering and require humane euthanasia to prevent suffering as determined by a veterinarian. 

9. What is the City of Waco's Animal Welfare Board, and where can I find more information about the Animal Welfare Board?

Information on the City of Waco's Animal Welfare Board can be found in Chapter 5, Article II of the Waco Code of Ordinances. The Animal Welfare Board is a state-mandated board required for all municipalities or counties that run an animal shelter and serve a designated population size. The Animal Welfare Board has many duties and ultimately reports to the Waco City Council. The City of Waco's Animal Welfare Board is comprised of representatives from local animal welfare groups, the shelter, City officials,  a veterinarian, and citizen representatives. City of Waco residents can apply to be on the Animal Welfare Board when there are vacancies! The Animal Welfare Board typically meets every other month on the 4th Wednesday of the month at noon in the Conference Room located at 2032 Circle Road, Waco Texas. Animal Welfare Board meetings are open to the public and the public is encouraged to attend. You can also learn more about the Animal Welfare Board here.

10. If my pet is required to be placed under 10-day quarantine observation (for example, for a bite), must my pet be quarantined at the Waco Shelter? 

It depends. Based on details of the incident resulting in the quarantine requirement and previous (verifiable) vaccination status of the pet, other alternatives may exist. Some local veterinary clinics have approved facilities for quarantine and offer quarantine options for pets of their longer-term customers. You should consult with the Animal Care Officer about this option and contact your veterinary clinic directly about the options they offer should your pet require quarantine. Quarantining your pet at your pet's veterinary clinic is often less stressful for the pet (compared to the shelter), sometimes is less expensive or similar in cost, and helps to keep kennels free at the shelter for other pets in need. In some circumstances when very specific criteria are met and at the discretion of the Animal Care Officer, a pet is eligible for in-home quarantine. 

11. Do cats always have to wear identification outdoors?

According to Waco Code of Ordinances Sec, 5-92.(b), cats are not considered 'at large' as long as the cat has been vaccinated as required by law and is wearing the required vaccination tags; or, the cat can be identified as having an owner or caregiver by collar and tags, microchip, identifying tattoo, or has a left ear tip indicating trap-neuter-return.


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