AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texans now face criminal penalties if they unlawfully restrain a dog, after Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed an updated version of a bill he vetoed earlier this year.
A conference committee worked to unify the Texas House and Senate versions of Senate Bill 5, also known as the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act. It passed the Senate Oct. 18 and the House shortly after midnight Oct. 19.
Abbott had vetoed a version of the legislation brought to his desk in May, saying at the time “Texas is no place for micro-managing and over-criminalization,” in reference to the bill’s requirements that dog owners “monitor things like the tailoring of the dog’s collar, the time the dog spends in the bed of a truck, and the ratio of tether-to-dog length.”
He pointed to the fact that Texas already had animal cruelty laws on the books. At the time, people who supported the bill used the hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs on social media to voice their displeasure at the veto.
The new law requires dogs to have protection from the elements and a shelter that allows them enough room to turn around and lie down fully. The dog must have a properly-fitted collar and can’t be restrained with a chain, restraint with weights attached or a restraint that is too short. And, the dog can’t be restrained outside and unattended unless it has:
- Adequate shelter
- Ability to avoid standing water/animal waste
- Potable water
There are a number of exceptions where these rules don’t apply, including when camping, shepherding livestock, or putting the dog in a truck bed or tying them up while doing a “temporary task.”
Violation of the law is a Class C misdemeanor, or a Class B misdemeanor if it’s a repeated offense.