Come January 18, it will be illegal for Texas dog owners
to chain up their pets outside. Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law in October to
help ensure more humane care for companion animals. Violations are considered a
Class C misdemeanors punishable by a fine up to $500, according to the bill.
The Safe Outdoor Dog Act (or Senate Bill No. 5) bans the use
of chains for tethering dogs outside and mandates necessities such as shelter,
shade, and clean water. Under the new law, dog owners may only use humane
tethers such as trolley systems or ziplines and all allowable tethers must be
attached to a properly fitting collar or harness.
Dog collars must be made of "material specifically
designed to be placed around the neck of a dog," though it does not
specify which materials, according to the Texas Tribune. Restraints must also
be no shorter than five times the dog's length. The law also stated dogs must
have shelter from "inclement weather," which includes rain, hail,
sleet, snow, high winds, extremely low temperatures, or extremely high temperatures.
According to the City of San Antonio, the bill mirrors two
local ordinances already on the books and it further supports their enforcement
by escalating penalties for repeat offenders. Residents who have previously
been convicted of the law can face a Class B Misdemeanor which is punishable by
up to 180 days in the County jail or a fine up to $2,000.
The new law goes into effect on January 18.