(a) To adopt a dog or cat from animal services, the adopter shall:
(1) complete and sign an adoption application on a form provided by the director for that purpose;
(2) sign an adoption contract on a form provided by the director for that purpose, which shall include a statement that the adopter agrees that if the adopter fails to comply with a sterilization agreement under Subsection (d), the animal may be seized and impounded by the director and ownership will automatically revert to the city; and
(3) pay to the director a non-refundable adoption fee (which includes, but is not limited to, the costs of any required vaccination, microchip implant, initial national registration, and sterilization) of:
(A) $45 for a dog and $15 for a cat, unless Subparagraph (B) of this paragraph applies to the adoption; or
(B) $25 for a dog and $5 for a cat if:
(i) the dog or cat is at least six years of age, as determined by the director;
(ii) the ultimate owner of the dog or cat will be a person who is 65 years of age or older as of the date of adoption; or
(iii) the adopter adopts two or more dogs and/or cats on the same date and as a part of the same transaction, and the adopter will be the ultimate owner of all of the animals adopted in the transaction.
(b) The director may, from time to time, designate and advertise promotional adoption periods during which the non-refundable adoption fees payable under Subsection (a)(3)(A) will be reduced or waived.
(c) Each dog or cat adopted from animal services will be spayed or neutered prior to release of the animal to the adopter, unless:
(1) the dog or cat is under six months of age; or
(2) a licensed veterinarian certifies that the dog or cat should not be spayed or neutered for health reasons or is permanently non-fertile.
(d) Before an unsterilized dog or cat under the age of six months will be released from animal services for adoption, the adopter must sign a sterilization agreement with the director, complying with Section 828.003 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, as amended, agreeing to:
(1) have the dog or cat spayed or neutered within 30 days after the date of adoption or the date the animal attains six months of age, whichever occurs last; and
(2) furnish to the director, within seven days after the date of sterilization, confirmation complying with Section 828.005 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, as amended, that the animal was spayed or neutered by the completion date required in Paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(e) An adopter who signs a sterilization agreement under Subsection (d) commits an offense if he fails to:
(1) have the adopted dog or cat spayed or neutered within the time period required under Subsection (d)(1); or
(2) furnish confirmation of sterilization as required under Subsection (d)(2).
(f) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (e) if, by the seventh day after the sterilization completion date required in Subsection (d)(1), the director receives from the adopter either:
(1) a letter complying with Section 828.006 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, as amended, stating that the animal is dead; or
(2) a letter complying with Section 828.007 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, as amended, stating that the animal is lost or stolen.
(g) The director may refuse to release a dog or cat for adoption under any circumstances, including, but not limited to:
(1) the prospective adopter or adoption agency has previously violated a provision of this chapter or has been convicted of an animal-related crime;
(2) the prospective adopter or adoption agency has inadequate or inappropriate facilities for confining the animal and for providing proper care to the animal as required by this chapter;
(3) the prospective adoption agency has failed to sign or comply with a transfer agreement with animal services that requires the sterilization of adopted animals or other conditions imposed by the director; or
(4) the director determines that the health, safety, or welfare of the animal or of the public would be endangered.
(h) If an adopter of a dog or cat violates Subsection (e), the director may seize and impound the animal, and ownership of the animal will automatically revert to the city. (Ord. Nos. 26024; 27250; 28335; 29403; 31332, eff. 10/1/19)