Pet Codes

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The City of Richland Hills Animals Services works to ensure that citizens are free from disease, animal nuisance or injuries from animals as well as protecting animals from being abused or neglected. In order to provide these services, the City has adopted the following ordinances.

Dangerous Animal and Potentially Dangerous Animals

A dangerous animal is defined as an animal that makes an unprovoked attack on a person or a domesticated animal that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than its enclosure.

A potentially dangerous animal is an animal that displays aggressive tendencies while inside an enclosure which would cause a person of normal sensibilities to fear the animal will attack that person or a domesticated animal.

Any animal declared to be dangerous or potentially dangerous may require the owner to pay fees, other remedial requirements up to and including removal from the City.

Tethering of Animals

In an effort to keep residents and pets safe as well as comply with State law, the City has adopted a tethering ordinance for responsible pet ownership. No person shall leave an animal outside and unattended by use of a tether that unreasonably limits the animal's movement between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., within 500 feet of a school or in the case of extreme weather conditions including heat advisories. The ordinance regulates the type of tether used as well as the location, conditions and length of time the pet can be tethered. By making sure the type and time are appropriate, the ordinance can prevent dog bites, embedded collars and dog fighting.

The entire chapter of Richland Hills Animal Code of Ordinances can be viewed at, Chapter 6.

The following are selected violations from Chapter 6 of the Richland Hills Municipal Code.

Animal at Large
Any animal off the premises of the owner which is not physically and continuously restrained by some person by means of a leash or chain of proper strength and length to prevent the animal from making unsolicited contact with any person or any other animal.

continuously restrained by some person by means of a leash or chain of proper strength and length to prevent the animal from making unsolicited contact with any person or any other animal.

Any animal on the premises of the owner not completely confined by a building, wall or fence of sufficient height, strength or construction to restrain the animal, or secured to the premises by a chain or leash.

The animals must have access to shelter and water.

Care of animals
Unlawful not to provide for adequate and humane care and shelter for animals. No owner shall fail to provide his animals with proper nutrition, wind and moisture proof shelter, shade, veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering, and with humane care and treatment.

Abusing animals or instigating animal fights prohibited. No person shall beat, cruelly ill-treat, torment, overload, overwork, or otherwise abuse an animal; or cause, instigate, or permit any dogfight, cockfight, bullfight, or other combat between animals or between animals and humans.

Abandoning animals prohibited. No owner of an animal shall abandon such animal.

Animal nuisances
Nuisance animals defined; declared unlawful. The following shall be considered public nuisances and shall be unlawful:

The keeping of any animal, which causes frequent or long continued odor or stench that is offensive to a person of normal sensibilities on adjoining, adjacent, or neighboring premises.

The keeping of any animal in such a manner as to endanger the public health; to annoy the neighbors by the accumulation of animal wastes which cause foul and offensive odors, or are considered to be a hazard to any other animal or human being; or by continued presence on the premises of another.

Animal pens, stables or enclosures in which any animal may be kept or confined which, from use, have become offensive to a person of ordinary sensitivities.

The keeping of bees in such a manner as to deny the lawful use of adjacent property or endanger personal health and welfare.

It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or harbor on his premises, or in or about his premises, or premises under his control, any animal, which by loud or unusual vocalizations shall cause the peace or quiet of the neighborhood or the occupants of adjacent premises to be disturbed.

It shall be unlawful for any person in control of an animal, to allow such animal to defecate on any private or public property, other than that of the owner, and not immediately remove such defecation.

Number of dogs and cats allowed per address
No person shall keep or harbor more than three dogs and two cats, or three cats and two dogs on any residential lot or tract in the city without a multi-pet permit. For purposes of this section puppies and kittens under three months of age shall not be counted.

Rabies vaccination required.
All dogs and cats over four months of age or older must be vaccinated annually against rabies with an anti-rabies vaccine approved by the state and administered by a duly authorized veterinarian. A metal rabies vaccination tag with the year of vaccination, a certificate number, and the name, address and phone number of the vaccinating veterinary clinic, must be securely attached to a collar or harness that must be worn by the animal at all times. In addition to the rabies vaccination tag, a paper certificate must be issued stating the name of the owner, address of the owner, description of the animal, the date of the vaccination, the number of the rabies vaccination tag, the name, address and phone number of the veterinary clinic, and the kind of vaccine used.

Application for initial issuance or renewal of each registration must be made by the owner in writing or in person, and accompanied by the appropriate fee from the fee schedule included on this site. If the original current registration tag is lost or destroyed, the owner may obtain a duplicate tag from the city by paying the appropriate fee. Dogs and cats under the age of one year shall be registered and shall pay the fee for sterilized dogs and cats. Animals may be exempted from the sterilization or rabies vaccination provisions upon written recommendation from a veterinarian that such alteration or vaccination would be harmful or dangerous to the animal.

Registration certificates shall be renewed annually. The registration shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of the rabies vaccination.

Quarantine of animals which have bitten
Every animal that bites a human or attacks another animal in an unnatural manner, shall be immediately confined by the owner, who shall promptly notify the animal control officer of the place where such animal is confined and the reason therefor. The owner shall not permit the animal to come in contact with any other person or animal. The owner shall surrender possession of such animal to the animal control officer on demand for supervised quarantine. Supervised quarantine shall be at the animal shelter or a veterinary hospital. The quarantine shall not be for less than ten days, not including the day of the bite. A release from quarantine may be issued if a veterinarian determines that the quarantined animal does not show the clinical signs of rabies.

Any veterinary hospital possessing any quarantined animal shall immediately notify the animal control officer if such animal escapes, or becomes or appears to become sick, or dies; and, in case of death of the animal while under quarantine, shall immediately surrender the dead animal to the animal control officer for diagnostic purposes.

Keeping of cows or horses
It shall be unlawful for any person to keep a cow or horse on any premises, the overall area of which is less than one-third of an acre for each cow or horse kept, or keep more than can be cared for under sanitary conditions and not create a public nuisance and, in no event, exceed the permitted number of adults and their foals or calves up to six months of age. The number of cows or horses permitted shall not exceed one adult per one-third acre for the first acre, and two adults per acre for each additional acre over two acres of a single tract of land. The person in lawful possession of the premises, as owner or tenant, may keep thereon cows or horses belonging to others, but limitation to number of cows or horses on the premises and the area and distance requirements of this section shall still apply and the keeping of cows or horses for others shall not be done as a business in violation of Chapter 90, Zoning.