Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law a new bill that will make it illegal for dog owners to restrain their pets with chains outside.
The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, which will take effect on January 18, 2022, makes the unlawful restraint of a dog a crime in Texas. The new law bans the use of chains for tethering dogs outside in addition to mandating shelter, shade and clean water.
Those in violation of the new law will be charged with a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. Meanwhile, repeat offenders will face a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
A representative for the Texas Humane Legislative Network told the Houston Chronicle the new law will have a positive impact on thousands of dogs across Texas.
“Every season, whether it’s super-hot Texas summers or whether it’s hurricane season or in the northern part of the state where it can regularly get to freezing temperatures, we get reports of dogs that have died outside at the ends of their chains,” Stacy Sutton Kerby, the nonprofit’s director of government relations, told the newspaper. “So we know that this is going to affect animals in a positive way going forward.”