EAST TEXAS (KETK) — As extreme heat waves continue to flow through Texas, dog owners who restrain their furry friends outdoors need to be aware of the new Texas laws regarding what is and is not legal.

Earlier this year, on Jan. 18, a new law went into effect in Texas called the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, which was initially passed in the legislature and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott during a special session in October. Under the new law, dog owners must abide by certain guidelines when restraining their pets outside, or face a Class C or B misdemeanor and a $500 fine.

With temperatures expected to remain in the upper 90s and lower 100s over the course of the next week, make sure you are following these guidelines if you plan on restraining your pup outside.

Your dog may be restrained outside if:

  • They have shelter from weather with dimensions that allows the dog to stand and lie down in a normal position
  • There is no standing water or excessive animal waste
  • They have shade from direct sunlight
  • They have access to drinking water
  • Their restraint is five times their own length or 10 feet long, whichever is greater

Your dog may not be restrained outside if:

  • The restraint is a chain
  • The restraint has weights attached
  • Their collar or harness is not properly fitted
  • They do not have access to adequate shelter from inclement weather, which includes rain, hail, sleet, snow, high winds, the actual temperature being below 32 degrees or if a heat advisory has been issued

The 24 hour waiting period has also been eliminated under the new law, meaning that law enforcement can intervene at any time in cases where dogs are at risk of inhumane treatment. First time violators could face up to $500 in fines and repeat offenders could be arrested.