Animal rights advocates are celebrating a new Texas law that is catching up to a San Antonio ordinance that has been in place for years.
Starting Jan. 18, 2022, unattended dogs will no longer be allowed to be restrained with chains or heavy weights outdoors in the state of Texas. The practice has been banned in San Antonio city limits since Oct. 2017.
SB 5 also prohibits an owner from leaving a dog without adequate shelter, shade from direct sunlight, drinking water and an area that allows the animal to avoid standing water and exposure to excessive animal waste.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 5, also known as the Safe Outdoor Dogs Bill, on Monday following the Texas Legislature’s third special session.
The governor previously vetoed a version of the bill, SB 474, in June saying the wording was too “micro-managing.”
“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 in a veto statement for SB 474. “Texas is no place for this kind of micro-managing and over-criminalization.”
The veto drew outrage on social media and #AbbottHatesDogs started trending on Twitter shortly after Abbott released his veto statement.
Jamey Cantrell, president of the Texas Animal Control Association, told the Texas Tribune that he believes the outcry on social media is what pushed Abbott to sign SB 5.
“If there was no outcry… it would still be something that we’d be planning on working on next legislative session,” Cantrell said.
A report from the Texas Tribune earlier this week points out that SB 474 and SB 5 are similar, however, the latter outlines the appropriate treatment of a tethered dog more clearly.
The new law bans the use of heavy weights and chains as restraints and states that dog collars must be made of “material specifically designed to be placed around the neck of a dog.”
Additionally, the new law eliminates the 24-hour rule that previously barred law enforcement from intervening if an animal was observed in inhumane or illegal conditions.
Violations of the new law will be considered a Class C misdemeanor and will be punishable by a fine of up to $500. Repeat offenders could face a Class B misdemeanor.