Responsible pet ownership protects health of humans, animals

By Hector Garza
Jan. 1, 2018 at 6:21 p.m.
Updated Jan. 2, 2018 at 1 a.m.

Hector Garza

Hector Garza   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

There are six fundamental steps every person can consider before adopting or taking in a new family member, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Being a responsible pet owner in your community is very important because it prevents overpopulation of stray animals, promotes proper animal care and protects loved ones from harmful communicable/zoonotic diseases.

In this column, we will cover responsible pet ownership and tell a little bit about us at the Victoria County Public Health Department and the Animal Control Division.

Owning a pet is a privilege, but the benefits of pet ownership come with responsibilities.

Being a responsible pet owner means you must do the following:

Commit

Avoid impulsive decisions when selecting a pet.

Select a pet that's suited to your home and lifestyle.

Keep only the number of pets for which you can provide appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship.

Commit to the relationship for the life of your pet.

Provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation.

Properly socialize and train your pet to be human- and pet-friendly.

Invest

Recognize that pet ownership requires an investment of time and money.

Make sure your pet receives preventative health care (vaccinations, parasite control, etc.) as well as care for any illnesses or injuries.

Obey animal care laws

Clean up after your pet; pet wastes pollutes.

Obey all local ordinances, including licensing, leash requirements and barking/noise control.

Don't allow your pet to run loose or become aggressive/feral.

Identify

Make sure your pet is properly identified (ID tags, microchips, etc.) and keep its registration up-to-date.

Cooperation

Don't contribute to our nation's pet overpopulation problem.

Check out low-cost spay/neuter clinics in your location to schedule an appointment and limit your pet's reproduction.

Prepare

Prepare for an emergency or natural disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit.

Make alternative arrangements if you can no longer provide care for your pet.

Recognize any decline in your pet's quality of life and make timely decisions in consultation with a veterinarian.

Vision statement

The Victoria County Public Health Department will be a recognized leader in advancing the health and safety of the community.

Mission statement

To promote, protect and respond to the residents of Victoria County and the communities we serve by providing public health services essential for healthy communities.

About us

Victoria County Public Health Department - Animal Control Division promotes the prevention of zoonotic disease, public protection from roaming nuisance animals and responsible pet ownership. We promote the prevention of zoonotic disease (disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans) by enforcing state laws and local ordinances that require vaccinating domestic animals for rabies. We promote public protection from dangerous animals by enforcing city and county ordinances. We respond to most animal complaints in the city and county of Victoria. We promote responsible pet ownership by educating new adopters and the general public on how to care for their pets.

In conclusion, we encourage the public to take these steps to create a positive change in our community. We don't want the public to view us as just a group of county employees or dogcatchers but to see us as public servants and friends.

Hector Garza is a state certified animal control officer with the Victoria County Public Health Department.


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