The new Texas law prevents owners from leaving their dogs outside without adequate shelter in certain conditions. Senate Bill 5 goes into effect on January 18, 2022.
KBCD stated anyone breaking this law could see a misdemeanor. Repeat offenders could see a Class B misdemeanor.
Defines "adequate shelter" to protect dogs from extreme temperatures, inclement weather, and standing water. Previously, there was no definition for shelter, and dogs that were tethered could (and did) die from exposure.
Requires access to drinkable water. Before the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, state law did not include this vital requirement.
Requires safe restraints. The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act bans the use of chains. Other tethering options such as cable tie-outs can be used, as long as they are correctly attached to a collar or harness.
If dogs are housed in an adequate shelter, they are fine. This means owners must provide water, dogs have space to move around, and they have protection from rain and wind.
The biggest change in the law states dogs can not be chained up.
Lubbock Animal Director Steven Greene said:
“It had a very, very heavy, like a tow chain. And not only was it on a tow chain, but the chain was actually around its neck and padlocked. So no one could steal a dog. I understand a lot of people feel they need a dog in the front yard for protection, but I have picked up dogs that have been injured or killed from other animals attacking them, because they have nowhere to go."
According to the Texas Humane Legislation Network, Texas has made three previous updates to this law in 2015, 2017, and 2019. The law was first established in 2007.
Governor Abbott vetoed the first Senate Bill
Last summer, Governor Greg Abbott vetoed Senate Bill 474 the animal cruelty bill. Governor Abbott stated there were plenty of laws protecting animals and the bill was micromanaging owners.
Senator Eddie Lucio (D) who wrote the bill said:
“We don’t have enough in the books to make sure we protect these animals from harm, mistreatment and possible death.”
This bill will provide much-needed change.
The co-president of Houston PetSet Tama Lundquist said:
"Homer was tied up for years at the end of a chain. He did not have a collar fit him properly, so the collar left on him, he grew into, so he had an embedded collar.”
A Michigan State University publication stated 23 states have laws on how owners can tether their dogs.
Do you think this bill was needed?