A new Texas law, Senate Bill 5, banning dog owners from leaving a dog chained and/or unattended with a short tether outside will go into effect later this month.
Effective January 18, Senate Bill 5 (also known as the Safe Outdoor Dogs Bill) prohibits an owner from leaving a dog outside and unattended by us of a restraint unless the owners provides the dog access to adequate shelter, an area allowing the dog to avoid standing water and exposure to excessive animal waste, shade from direct sunlight and potable water.
Furthermore, the bill prohibits owners from restraining a dog outside and unattended through the use of a restraint that is a chain, has weights attached, is shorter than 10 feet or five times the length of the dog or is attached to an improperly fitted collar or harness.
Exceptions are made in the bill for: public camping or recreational areas; certain activities conducted under a valid state license; shepherding or herding cattle or livestock; cultivating agricultural products; dog left unattended in an open-air truck bed in certain circumstances; temporary restraint of a dog in certain circumstances; and hunting or field training.
Additionally, the new law also eliminates the 24-hour waiting period for law enforcement officers to intervene in cases where dogs are at risk of inhumane treatment.
Those found in violation of the law could face a Class C misdemeanor charge.
Repeat offenders could be arrested and charged with a Class B misde meanor.
Passed during the Texas Legislature’s third special session of 2021, an earlier version of the bill, Senate Bill 474, was originally vetoed by Governor Greg Abbott last June.
“Senate Bill 474 would compel every dog owner, on pain of criminal penalties, to monitor things like the tailoring of the dog’s collar, the time the dog spends in the bed of a truck, and the ratio of tether-to-dog length, as measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail,” Abbott said following his veto last summer. “Texas is no place for this kind of micro-managing and over-criminalization.”
Abbot, who faced backlash including a viral “Abbott Hates Dogs” social media trend, did not issue a statement following the signing of the amended bill.