Gov. Abbott vetoes bill expanding animal cruelty laws, calls it ‘micro-managing’

Texas Politics

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbot vetoed a bill designed to expand animal cruelty laws, specifically to restraining dogs.

Abbott called Senate Bill 474, known as the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, “micro-managing” and said, “Texas is no place for this kind of over-criminalization.”

The bipartisan act would have made it a Class C misdemeanor if someone knowingly leaves a dog outside unattended while restrained unless the owner can provide:

  • Adequate shelter
  • An area that allows the dog to stay away from standing water, urine or feces or otherwise cause harm to the dog
  • Shade from direct sunlight
  • Potable water

The act goes on to say owners couldn’t use a chain to restrain the dog, or a tether that has weights attached or is shorter than 10 feet or five times the length of the dog measured from nose to tail. It also stipulates that the dog’s collar or harness “fit properly.”

Repeat offenders would have charges elevated to Class B misdemeanors.

Abbott said Texas’ statutes “already protect them by outlawing true animal cruelty.”

“Texans love their dogs,” he said. “Senate Bill 474 would compel every dog owner, on pain of criminal penalties, to 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 ratio.”

The bill passed the Senate 28-3 and the House 83-32.

Abbott has vetoed 20 bills so far this year.

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