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Texas Gov Abbott Signs Statewide Dog Tethering Bill

Paws Up! To Governor Greg Abbott for signing Senate Bill 5, which will protect dogs from extreme weather and a life on a chain.

November 24, 2021

Dogs in Texas will finally be given extra protection next year after Governor Abbott signed SB5 into law last month. This new law, which goes into effect on January 18, 2022, more clearly defines what is considered “unlawful restraint” of a dog, as well as “adequate shelter.” The law requires dog owners to not leave their dogs outside unattended unless they have adequate shelter, access to potable water, and are not tethered by a chain, weight, or other unsuitable restraints as described in the legislation.

After Texas experienced a deep freeze in February 2021 and residents across the state lost power, many dogs who were left outside froze to death in the plummeting temperatures. Legislators, animal welfare organizations, and members of the public were rightfully outraged by the lack of care or accountability reflected in Texas’ dog tethering laws that led to the needless suffering of animals, so the Safe Outdoor Dogs Bill was introduced earlier this spring. Disappointingly, Governor Greg Abbott vetoed the bill, claiming that the legislation would be too restrictive to dog owners.

Texas Senator Eddie Lucio and Representative Jared Patterson immediately sprung into action to sponsor the updated bill, Senate Bill 5, and it was finally approved and signed by Governor Abbott in time for another potential winter storm in 2022.

In addition to giving stipulations on what is considered unlawful restraint of a dog and adequate shelter from the elements, the new law also eliminates the “24-hour rule” which previously prevented law enforcement from helping animals who were being treated inhumanely until after 24 hours had passed, according to this news article.

Why is Dog Chaining Inhumane?
Dog chaining inherently creates a life of misery for dogs who remain solitary and tethered for much of their lives. The practice also creates secondary hazards that have killed or injured many dogs. Chained dogs…

…cannot escape from aggressive wild animals or free-roaming dogs.

… may tip over and empty water bowls while dragging a chain.

… do not receive adequate physical activity.

… have died from strangulation after trying to jump over an object, such as a dog house.

… may be more likely to bite than well-socialized dogs.

… are susceptible to overheating and freezing in extreme weather.

… can wrap the chain around objects, thereby further restricting their range of motion.

…often lunge or pull against a chain, causing abrasions to the neck.

…suffer high-exposure to disease-carrying insects including ticks, fleas, and  mosquitos.

…are forced to urinate and defecate in the same area where they eat and sleep.

…may bark continuously from boredom and frustration.

Take Action:

  • If you own a dog, make your dog welcome in your home and take him or her for leashed walks and outdoor play in a fenced area.
  • Commit to providing obedience training to each dog in your household
  • Offer to walk a chained dog in your community, and check to ensure the dog always has fresh water and adequate food.
  • Call your local animal control office any time you suspect an animal’s basic needs are not being met.
  • Support anti-dog chaining ordinances, which are appearing in cities and counties across the nation.

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