Animal Safety & Ordinances Information

Spay, Neuter & Microchip:

Dogs & cats: In addition to state-mandatory rabies vaccination, owned dogs and cats must be spayed/neutered & microchipped.

  • Community cats: In addition to the state-mandatory rabies vaccination, outside cats, both owned and unowned, must be spayed or neutered. No microchip required for community cats with the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) left ear tip, performed during spay/neuter surgery.
  • See the spay/neuter ordinance information.

Exceptions to Ordinance:

  • Breeders: Breeder pets in addition to the state-mandatory rabies vaccination, must be microchipped, and must also have a veterinarian-issued Health Statement issued at least once every two years that must include the pet's microchip number.
    • Each puppy or kitten in a litter must be microchipped by four months of age and have a vet-issued Health Statement prior to sale or transfer.
    • Breeder must have this information available upon request by law enforcement or animal control. It is the new owner’s responsibility to obtain these documents from their Breeder during the sale or transfer of the animal.
      Sample Health Statement
  • Medical: A veterinarian can exempt a non-breeding pet for medical / health reasons. This exemption must be documented, including microchip information, on the pet's medical record.

Free/ Low-Cost Options & Who is Eligible?

  • Dr. Ovidiu Craciun,
    Animal Birth Control Clinic, Waco
    Residents of the City of Waco may qualify for FREE spay/neuter for owned dogs and cats based on income, location/zip code, and available funding. Call 752-SPAY (7729) for more information.
  • Free & low-cost options are available at the Animal Birth Control Clinic in Waco.

Book Online

Visit for booking an online appointment.  Present a Waco water bill at time of appointment or proof of residency and you're set!

  • Community Cats (outdoor or outdoor/indoor) located in the 76708 zip code qualify for free Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). TNR includes spay/neuter, Rabies and a left “eartip” performed by a vet during spay/neuter surgery. Loaner TNR traps available with refundable deposit. For more details, visit

Low-cost spay/neuter options

Microchipping Options:


(Subject to change. Please call first.)

  • When a pet gets a new owner, it is the previous owner’s responsibility to make sure that new owner updates the pet’s microchip owner contact information. This can be done by contacting the microchip company (i.e., HomeAgain, 24PetWatch, Avid, ResQ, etc).
  • Residents may have their pet microchipped at their pet’s full-service veterinarian.
  • Low-cost microchip providers in McLennan County: Humane Society of Central Texas ($20) and Animal Birth Control Clinic ($25). ***Prices are subject to change.

Animal Safety

Watch our animal safety PSA on tethering:

Tethering an Animal:


(Sec. 5-123)

  • An animal may not be tethered, chained or fastened in any way that would cause injury or pain.
  • Must be able to reach shelter, food and water at all times.

Watch our PSA on Animals in Motor Vehicles:

Animals in Motor Vehicles:

(Sec. 5-121)

  • No person shall leave any animal in any standing or parked vehicle in such a way as to intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence endanger the animal's health, safety or welfare.
  • An Animal Care Officer, police officer or park ranger is authorized to use reasonable force to remove the animal from the vehicle whenever it appears that the animal's health, safety or welfare is or will be endangered if the owner of the vehicle cannot be located after reasonable attempts.
  • Note: Leaving your dog in a car, even with the windows cracked could be fatal. In Waco it is a Class C misdemeanor that carries a fine up to $500.00 When in doubt, leave your pet at home.

Sale of Animals in a Public Place:

(Sec. 5-131)

  • Animals may NOT be made available for sale, trade, barter, lease, rent, give away or convey the ownership of any animal on any roadside, public right-of-way, commercial parking lot, garage sale, flea market, festival, park, community center or outdoor public place.

Alternatives to Surrendering Your Animal

See the entire Municipal Code of Ordinances relating to animals in the City of Waco here.

Common Questions >>