Texas Governor Greg Abbott Vetoes Bill to Protect Chained Dogs
Animal advocates celebrated when Texas lawmakers passed a fantastic bill with bipartisan support through the state’s Senate and House chambers that would have protected dogs from cruelty and neglect and a life of suffering at the end of a chain. Shockingly, Gov. Greg Abbott recently vetoed it, sparking outrage in the state and beyond and causing #AbbottHatesDogs to go viral on social media.
The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, which was passed through the legislature in May, was a commonsense bill that would have made it illegal to tether dogs using heavy chains, and it defined the lengths of tethers that could be used. It also banned tethering a dog without providing drinkable water, adequate shelter, and shade from direct sunlight. It required that dogs move around without being trapped in water or mud.
Despite widespread support from animal advocacy organizations, lawmakers, the public, law enforcement and animal control officers who want to see dogs protected by enforceable laws, Gov. Abbott equated these measures (which are below the bare minimum of responsible guardianship), as micro-managing and vetoed the bill.
Unfortunately, dogs in Texas are the ones who will pay the ultimate price. Overall, the practice of tethering is cruel for them and dangerous for communities. As we’ve seen firsthand through our Justice for Animals and Break the Chains campaigns and at our Hope Animal Sanctuary in Mississippi, dogs who are left tethered are at serious risk of being injured or killed if they get entangled.
They can be left for days, or even their entire lives, without any shelter in all kinds of weather. If there are any, food and water can quickly go bad and easily become out of reach. Dogs are also frequently strangled or suffer from embedded collars that are never checked or neck injuries from the use of heavy log or tow chains.
Dogs are also extremely social animals who suffer severe frustration and distress when they’re left isolated, leading to behavioral issues and aggression, with children being the most common victims.
Hopefully, Texans won’t let this issue go, and more communities and states will pass anti-tethering laws to protect dogs and residents. No dog belongs left on a chain.
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