Over the past few months, the TML staff has been in contact with the staff of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), negotiating an addition to the agency’s proposed animal euthanasia rule changes. The proposed rules provided that a shelter (including a city-owned shelter) should scan an animal for an identifying microchip before euthanizing the animal. While this is an admirable goal, many small cities do not have scanning machines capable of detecting or reading these chips. The League asked the DSHS staff to add language explicitly stating that a city would not be required to purchase a microchip scanning machine in order to comply with the proposed rule. The DSHS staff agreed, and the language was added. Unfortunately, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which has final review authority over DSHS rules, voted to remove the negotiated provision.

The DSHS staff has stated its belief that because the rule uses the word “should” rather than “must,” it will have the same effect as it would have had with the TML language included: that a city that does not own a machine will not be required to purchase one in order to comply with the rules. The final rule will appear in the July 3 issue of the Texas Register.

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Texas Municipal League.

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