Unless the context demonstrates a different application, for the purposes of these Regulations the
following words have the following meaning:
Animal: Non-human, warm-blooded and cold-blooded living creatures.
Animal Control Officer: The person or persons employed by HCPH VPH to enforce these Regulations.
Animal Shelter: A facility that keeps or legally impounds stray, homeless, abandoned, or unwanted
animals and complies with the standards and requirements of animal shelters prescribed in chapters
823 and 826 of the Texas Health & Safety Code.
Attack: Acts by an animal that cause a person bodily injury.
Bite: Any abrasion, scratch, puncture, tear or piercing of the skin that causes bleeding and is caused by
or suspected of being caused by an animal.
Cat: Any live domestic cat (Felis catus)
Commissioners Court: The Commissioners Court of Harris County, Texas;
Community Cat: Any free-roaming cat that may be cared for by one or more residents who is/are known or unknown. Community cats that are ear-tipped are sterilized and have received at least one vaccination against rabies. A community cat may or may not be feral. Cats that are eligible to be part of a community cat program are deferred from enforcement of the licensing, stray or abandonment provisions of the regulation.
Community Cat Caretaker: A person who, in accordance with a good faith effort to conduct Trap-Neuter-Return, provides care, including food, shelter or medical care, to a community cat. However, community cat caregivers are not the owner, custodian, harborer, possessor, controller, keeper of a community cat.
Community Cat Program (CCP): The lifesaving program that works to improve the lives of, reduce the unnecessary euthanasia of, and decrease the number of community cats. The program may consist of Shelter-Neuter-Return (SNR) and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs.
County: Harris County, Texas;
(1)An animal that satisfies the following criteria:
a. has been vaccinated for rabies with and according to the label recommendations of a United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved vaccine
b. has been vaccinated for rabies within the last 12 months or has received 2 rabies
vaccinations with the latter of the 2 rabies vaccinations having been administered using a
vaccine with a 3-year duration of immunity
c. at least 30 days have elapsed since the initial vaccination
d. the time elapsed since the most recent vaccination has not exceeded the label
recommendations of the vaccine
(2) If a previously vaccinated animal is overdue for a booster, once revaccinated, the animal will be considered currently vaccinated
Currently Vaccinated-ST: An animal that is “currently vaccinated” as the term is defined in 25 T.A.C.
§169.22, i.e., an animal that is vaccinated and satisfying the following criteria: (A) The animal must have
been vaccinated against rabies according to the label recommendations of a United States Department
of Agriculture (USDA) approved vaccine; (B) At least 30 days have elapsed since the initial vaccination;
and (C) The time elapsed since the most recent vaccination has not exceeded the label
recommendations of the vaccine.
Custodian: A person or agency which feeds, shelters, harbors, has possession or control, or has the
responsibility to control an animal, including, but not limited to, the owner of the animal.
Dangerous Dog: A dog that
(1) makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place
other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to
prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own; or
(2) commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept
and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own and
those acts cause a reasonable person with common knowledge of dog behavior to believe that the dog will bite and cause bodily injury to that person.
Designated Caretaker: Harris County Veterinary Public Health, a division of Harris County Public Health,
shall be the designated caretaker of animals in the custody of or housed in a facility of Harris County
Veterinary Public Health.
Dog: Any live domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) including hybrids.
Ear-tipping: The removal of the ¼ inch tip of a community cat’s ear, performed while the cat is under anesthesia, in compliance with any applicable federal or state law, and under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, designed to be the universal identification that the community cat is sterilized and vaccinated against rabies at least once.
Enclosure: A cage, crate, pen, corral, case, aquarium, building, or other place used solely for the primary
housing of an animal or for the transportation of an animal.
Exposed to rabies: Any dog or cat or other animal (whether it has been licensed or vaccinated for rabies
or not) which has been bitten, has fought with or has consorted with an animal known or suspected to
have rabies or showing objective symptoms of rabies.
HCPH VPH: The Veterinary Public Health Division of the Harris County Public Health & Environmental
Services department, its employees and agents.
Humanely euthanize: To cause the death of an animal by a method which rapidly produces
unconsciousness and death without visible evidence of pain or distress or utilizes anesthesia produced
by an agent which causes painless loss of consciousness and death following such loss of consciousness.
Impound: The apprehending, catching, trapping, netting, tranquilizing, confining or, if necessary, the
euthanasia of any animal by an animal control officer.
Impounding facility: Any premises approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services and
designated by Harris County for the purpose of impounding or caring for all animals found in violation of
these Regulations including, but not limited to, the animal shelter operated by HCPH VPH.
License: A document issued by HCPH VPH, Annually, Triennially, or for the Lifetime of the dog or cat, in
compliance with Section 5 of these Regulations.
License tag: A numbered tag worn on the collar of a dog or cat which identifies that a license was issued
for the animal by HCPH VPH.
Licensed: In regard to a dog or cat means licensed by HCPH VPH as required by Section 5 of these
Local Health Department: The agents and officers (including the Local Health Authority and Local Rabies
Authority) of the Harris County Public Health as the duly appointed agency to enforce these Regulations.
Non-transferable: Cannot be transferred from one owner to another, from one animal to another, nor
from one location to another.
Owner: Any person that harbors, shelters, keeps, controls, manages, possesses or has part interest in
any dog or cat. It is a rebuttable presumption that the occupant of any premises on which a dog or cat
remains for a period of seven (7) days or to which it customarily returns daily for a period of seven
(7) days is harboring, sheltering or keeping the aforementioned dog or cat, within this definition. If a
minor owns a dog or cat or other animal subject to the provisions of these Regulations, his or her
parent, or guardian is deemed the custodian of such dog or cat or other animal.
Person: Includes an individual, corporation, organization, government or governmental subdivision or
agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, and any other legal entity.
Restraint: The control of a dog or cat under the following circumstances:
(1) When it is controlled by a line or leash not more than six (6) feet in length, if the line or leash
is held by a human being who is capable of controlling or governing the dog or cat in question;
(2) When it is within a fully enclosed vehicle; or
(3) When it is on the premises of the custodian and the animal does not have access to a
sidewalk or street.
Return: In a shelter-neuter-return, return-to-field, trap-neuter-return or substantially similar program, returning the cat to the location where it was trapped after it has been sterilized and vaccinated for rabies.
Secure Enclosure: A fenced area or a structure that is locked; is capable of preventing the entry of the
general public; is capable of preventing the escape or release of the animal confined therein; and is
marked as containing a dangerous dog or a dangerous or restricted animal as required by these
Shelter/Neuter/Return (SNR): The nonlethal process of humanely impounding, sterilizing, vaccinating against rabies and ear-tipping community cats and returning them to their original location.
State: The State of Texas.
Stray: Any animal not under restraint as defined by these Regulations. The display of a vaccination tag or
license tag does not change the fact that the animal is a stray for the purposes of these Regulations.
Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR): The nonlethal process of humanely trapping, sterilizing, vaccinating against rabies and ear-tipping community cats and returning them to their original location.
Unincorporated Harris County: That portion of Harris County that is not within the incorporated
boundaries of a municipality, town, or village.
Unprovoked: With respect to an attack by a dog means that the dog was not hit, kicked, or struck by a
person with any object or part of a person's body nor was any part of the dog's body pulled, pinched, or
squeezed by a person.
Vaccinated: Properly injected by a licensed veterinarian with a rabies vaccine licensed for use in that
species by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Vaccination Certificate: A document bearing the signature or signature stamp and license number of a
licensed veterinarian and the following information: the rabies tag number; the name, size, color, sex,
species, age and breed of a dog or cat; the name, phone number and address of the owner; the date of
the rabies vaccination and the expiration date, serial number, producer and vaccine used.