Texas Bill to Protect Chained Dogs Finally Becomes a Law
After vetoing a similar bill this summer, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott finally acted positively on behalf of abused dogs when he signed the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act into law, which will protect dogs across the state by establishing basic standards of care for dogs kept outdoors and making it illegal to chain them.
Under the new law, which goes into effect on January 18, 2022, guardians will be banned from restraining their dogs outside with chains or weighed-down restraints and will be required to use tethers that are at least 10-feet, or five times the dogs’ length, that are attached to properly-fitted collars or harnesses specifically designed for dogs.
It also makes it illegal to tether dogs without providing them with adequate shelter that protects them from inclement weather, shade from sunlight, an area where they can avoid standing water, and exposure to “excessive” amounts of their own waste, and drinkable water.
Most importantly, it gives law enforcement the ability to act immediately to help a tethered dog in danger. Previously, they had to give guardians 24 hours to correct inhumane treatment.
A similar version of this bill, which passed with bipartisan support, was vetoed by Gov. Abbott this summer, which led to public outrage and #AbbottHatesDogs going viral on social media. Supporters of the bill believe the backlash helped finally get it passed during the third special session with little difference to the last version.
Hopefully, the attention brought to this issue by the controversy surrounding this bill will also encourage more people to act now to protect dogs from suffering on chains in Texas and elsewhere.
Not only are tethering and chaining cruel for dogs, who are extremely social animals who suffer both physically and psychologically as a result of being confined and isolated, but this practice also puts them at serious risk of being injured or killed if they become entangled. It also poses a public safety risk by increasing the likelihood of bite incidents.
You can protect dogs!