AUSTIN (KXAN) — As of Tuesday, anyone who unlawfully restrains a dog could face criminal penalties in Texas.
The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act passed the legislature in October during a special session and Gov. Greg Abbott signed it at the end of that month. Abbott had vetoed a version of the legislation earlier last year during the regular session, concerned over “micro-managing” and saying the state already outlawed animal cruelty. People voiced their displeasure at the time using the hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs on social media.
Now, violating the law could result in a Class C misdemeanor or a Class B misdemeanor if someone is caught doing it more than once.
Under the new law, dogs must be protected from the elements and have a large-enough shelter to be able to reposition themselves and lie down fully. Their collars must fit them correctly and they can’t be restrained with a chain, have a restraint that’s too short or have a restraint with weights attached.
Dogs also can’t be restrained outside without someone nearby unless they have a suitable shelter, shade, potable water and the ability to avoid standing water or their waste.
Some exceptions apply to these rules, including for those shepherding, camping or putting a dog in the back of a truck bed or tying them up during a “temporary task.”