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Yes, ticket owners of roaming dogs – mySanAntonio.com

Yes, ticket owners of roaming dogs – mySanAntonio.com

Updated 10:47 am, Thursday, January 11, 2018

Far too many dogs continue to roam in certain parts of San Antonio. The dogs roam, bite and breed. And with each litter, the cycle repeats itself.

But fewer dogs are roaming around town, and that’s a credit to Animal Care Services. The agency, which is often unfairly criticized, has been diligently addressing the problem that plagues certain neighborhoods on the South, West and East sides.

The latest effort to curb this epidemic comes in the form of stepped-up owner education and outreach. Many of these roaming dogs are pets, not true strays. As Animal Care Services Assistant Director Shannon Sims told Express-News reporter Vincent T. Davis, “It’s not a huge stray problem. It’s a huge people problem we’re facing.”

RELATED: Deformed as a result of abuse, a dog named Squish gets 2nd chance at life in San Antonio

More and more often, ACS officers are returning animals to their owners. That number has increased from 2,000 in 2013 to about 7,000 in 2017, Davis reported. And more and more often, ACS officers are citing people for irresponsible pet ownership. In 2013, the agency issued about 5,000 citations. Last year, it was more than 11,000 citations.

The message is clear: Let your dog roam and the consequence just might be a $300 fine.

This education and enforcement campaign builds on previous forward-thinking policies at ACS and partner organizations. Animal Care Services achieved no-kill status in late 2015. This means that at least 90 percent of all animals are adopted, placed in a shelter, returned to their owners, or in the case of feral cats, spayed/neutered and released in the community.

Spay-neuter surgeries have increased dramatically over the past five years. And an affordable microchipping program makes it much easier for ACS officers to trace pets back to owners.

READ MORE: Fireworks, freezing temperatures in first days of 2018 kept Animal Care Services busy

Now and then, we hear comments from misguided elected officials who say ACS should euthanize more animals. Not only is that cruel, it’s not a solution to what’s really a public health and safety crisis.

ACS has taken the long view on roaming dogs, and the community is beginning to see the benefits.

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