Texas Law Wasn’t Able to Help This Tangled Up Dog
In 2020, three members of a Texas family were arrested after a Comcast worker spotted their dog hanging, tethered by his rear leg to a chain and cable combination, and called authorities after being unable to get the dog free. Now, a new law that addresses tethering in the state may help change the outcome in situations like this.
The tortured dog in this case had not been checked on for three days. Fort Bend Exec. ADA Wesley Wittig heard from thousands of In Defense of Animals supporters who signed our alert pressing for maximum sentencing for each family member involved, but sadly only one of them was held accountable at all. Only Juan Javier Lopez was punished. His fine and court costs were a mere $805, he received a year’s probation without jail, and a court-appointed class. The sentencing was a travesty of justice for an animal who lingered in anguish, unattended by the very people who tethered him.
January 18, 2022, the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act as passed by the Texas legislature, went into effect. While it still, unfortunately, allows tethering, the law prohibits the chaining or use of heavy weights to restrain dogs. A first offense, a Class C misdemeanor, can be a $500 fine. A second offense, a Class B misdemeanor, can be punishable by a 2,000 fine or up to 180 days in jail. Dogs must be provided adequate shelter that protects them from inclement weather and be provided with clean water that they can access. A dog’s environment must be clear of free-standing water (puddles) and excessive waste. Their collars must fit and they must be able to sit or stand comfortably.
While we’re glad lawmakers took action, there is still much work to do. Leaving dogs tethered and isolated isn’t just bad for them, it poses a safety risk to other animals including people. To find out more about how you can help tethered dogs, visit our Break the Chains campaign.