TYLER, Texas (KETK) – On January 18th, the Safe Outdoor Dog Act went into effect, and some East Texas residents still have questions about the law.

The Safe Outdoor Act requires pet owners to provide adequate shelter for dogs, it makes it illegal to chain pets with weighted restraints and restrained the dog can not be left unattended. The act makes sure pets have a proper shelter that protects them from any hazardous weather, that they are able to stand up in it, turn around and reposition themselves without obstruction.

“The new safe outdoor dog act what it does is it defines shelter, which was needed,” said Amber Green, supervisor Smith County Animal Control.

The law also states that if a dog is restrained you can only use rope, wire, or cable and it can not be shorter than five times the length of the dog. It also allows law enforcement to be able to intervene immediately with any complaints or concerns.

“You can still tie your dog outside, you just can’t tie it with a chain. We suggest that you use cables or trolley systems because it’s going to be the most durable. If you use a rope or a leash or a tether like nylon of some sorts dogs could chew through it and they could get loose,” said Green.

Animal control centers around East Texas like in Longview, Nacogdoches County and Smith County say they have all experienced the same things with the new law.

“We receive a dozen calls a day and sometimes it’s just people asking so they can make sure they’re in compliance of the law and some of it is just them complaining about their neighbor’s dog being tied out,” said Green.

They are receiving more calls from pet owners wanting to make sure they are compliant with the Safe Outdoor Dog Act and making sure their neighbors are also.

Nacogdoches County Animal Control says they have seen an increase in welfare checks since the law went into effect.

“I really like it so far because I don’t like for dogs to be chained up. I feel like they should be able to be free like your free. you know they just have to learn what they need to learn not to hurt other people,” said Tyler dog owner Sabrina Staples.

This may be the first time some East Texas residents are hearing about the new law, but they approve of it and say neighbors should look out for each other and their pets.