Chaining Dogs Outside Will Finally be Illegal in Texas

A few months ago, Texas Governor Greg Abbott rejected 20 bills… 

The proposed Senate Bill 474 was one of them. This bill would have made it illegal to chain up dogs… and leave them without drinkable water, adequate shade, or shelter. 

The bill also called for the ban of “tethering dogs with heavy chains.”

In a statement, Abbott claimed that the bill “micro-managed and over-penalized pet owners.” 

Upon rejecting the bill, Abbott received a lot of backlash from the public. The hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs trended on Twitter soon after he dismissed the proposed legislation.

Fortunately, after some time, the long-awaited bill for dogs was signed by Abbott. Senate Bill 5, also known as the “Safe Outdoor Dogs Act,” made Texas law.

  • It bans the use of chain tethers
  • It empowers law enforcement officers to act fast when they find an animal in dire situations. 

This new bill also requires that dogs have protection from outside elements… giving them shelter that allows them enough room to turn around and lie down entirely. The dog must also have a properly-fitted collar. It can’t be restrained with a chain, restraint with weights attached, or a too-short restraint. The dog can’t be tied outside and unattended unless it has:

  • Adequate shelter
  • Ability to avoid standing water/animal waste
  • Shade
  • Potable water

There are several exceptions where the rules mentioned won’t apply. These include: 

  • Camping
  • Shepherding livestock
  • Putting the dog in a truck bed
  • Tying the dog up while doing a “temporary task.”

Chief Animal Investigator for the Houston Humane Society, Randy Farmer, sees the importance of prioritizing dogs’ lives with this bill. Throughout his career, he’s seen dogs that were cruelly confined.

He said, “It’s important that we can take care of the problem right away. We actually will be able to go out and save the animal’s life.”

“Embedded collars don’t happen overnight. That’s weeks and weeks of the animal being neglected. It’s a terrible smell… embedded collars… it’s a smell you’ll never forget. It’s a great thing the law has been able to move forward and change to prevent this type of neglect.”

Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr thanked supporters of the bill and the governor for signing it.

He said, “There is now a basic standard of care that must be provided to dogs tethered outdoors across the state. Dogs are more than man’s best friend; they are family. Mistreating dogs is horrible. Passing legislation like this isn’t just a good policy; it’s humane policy.”

The bill, which passed during the Legislature’s third special session of the year, will take effect this coming Jan. 18, 2022.

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