Anyone who unlawfully restrains a dog in Texas could face criminal charges as of Tuesday.
During a special session in October, the legislature approved the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, which Governor Greg Abbott signed at the end of the month. Abbott had rejected a version of the bill during the regular session last year, citing concerns about “micro-managing” and claiming that the state already prohibited animal cruelty. People expressed their displeasure with the hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs on social media at the time.
If someone is discovered breaking the law more than once, they will be charged with a Class C or Class B misdemeanor.
Dogs must be shielded from the extreme weather conditions and have a spacious enough shelter to adjust themselves and sleep comfortably under the new regulation. The collars must fit them properly, and they cannot be bound with a chain, a constraint that is too short, or a leash that includes weights.
Outside, dogs can’t be confined unless they have adequate shelter, shade, drinkable water, and the capacity to avoid puddles or their waste.
These restrictions have several exceptions, such as while shepherding, camping, keeping a dog in the back of a parked vehicle, or locking them up during a “temporary task.”