Breaking down San Antonio’s animal ordinances + laws

Learn about the city’s ordinances + departments dedicated to the care of local animals.

SATXtoday: San Antonio Animal Care Services

San Antonio Animal Care Services.

Photo by Animal Care Services.

Table of Contents

Like many San Antonians, we are obsessed with our animals. Fortunately, the Alamo city is home to countless dog-friendly spots and a multitude of pet events — including dog markets, parades + pageants during Fiesta — to support us in providing the best for our animals.

Speaking of providing the best ... the city and state have ordinances + laws to best protect and support local animals. San Antonio has an ordinance (Chapter 5) that outlines animal rules and regulations. Here’s a breakdown of the basics.

San Antonio Animal Care Services (ACS)

Our city’s Animal Care Services (ACS) department is the largest open admission municipal shelter in South Texas. The department offers a variety of services, including:

  • Spaying and neutering
  • Vaccinations and microchipping
  • Adopting
  • Locating lost pets
SATXtoday: Animal Care Services San Antonio

Animal Care Officers meet a local resident and his dog at a low cost clinic.

Photo by Animal Care Services.

Things to know

As an animal owner, caretaker, or business owner, knowing your rights is important. Let’s break down the Chapter 5 ordinance.

Animal nuisances
As an animal owner, you are responsible for the behavior and conduct of your pet, including:

  • Monitoring noise level
  • Preventing damage to public and private property
  • Keeping animals restrained responsibly

Animal control
If an animal bite or scratch breaks the skin, it must be reported to ACS within 24 hours by calling 737-1600 or 287-2778. Biting animals must be quarantined for rabies observation for 10 days from the date of the bite, regardless of the vaccination status.

Leashing and pooper scooper
Owners must have their animal on a leash at all times while in public and must clean up after their animal.

Animals (dogs, cat, and ferrets) must have a rabies shot starting at four months old and booster vaccinations are required by the state, county, and city annually.

Animals four months and older living within the city limits must have a registered microchip. ACS offers free microchipping + vaccine clinics.

SATXtoday: San Antonio ACS microchipping

Check out a free microchipping event by ACS.

Photo by Animal Care Services

Animal limits
No more than eight cats or five dogs can live in your dwelling. Other animal limits include three domestic fowls and two livestock (equines, bovines, sheep, goats, and llamas). Check out the list of prohibited animals.

Animal permits
If you run a commercial animal business, run a cat colony, sell animals, or have livestock, you need a permit issued from ACS. Permit types include:

  • Seller
  • Litter
  • Residential (cat colony or excess animals)
  • Livestock
  • Commercial (grooming, kennels, shop, and more)

Need more information? Check out this cheat sheet on the city’s chapter five animal laws. Here are two additional laws to know about: