New Texas Senate Bill 5 ‘Safe Outdoor Dog Act’ Becomes Law Today

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) — After six years, lawmakers and a lobbyist for animal rights nonprofit “The Safe Outdoor Dog Act” have passed the Senate.

Governor Greg Abbott signed the law in 2021 and today Texas Senate Bill 5 became Texas law.

The “Safe Outdoor Dog Act” eliminates the use of chains to restrain dogs.

Instead requires legal restraints such as tethers and carriage systems to allow dogs to stand up, turn around and lie down.

Animal control officer Lisa Cox is a 20-year veteran and shared her thoughts on the new law.

“I think that’s a long time coming. I kinda wish they said a dog can’t be held back on anything personally,” Lisa Cox said. “In Canyon, as I said, I’m not too worried about the coming into force of this law. I’m just glad it finally happened.

The law also prohibits dogs from being left outside in extreme temperatures, inclement weather or in standing water without adequate shelter and must also have drinking water.

It also waives the 24-hour waiting period so animal control and law enforcement can act immediately if a dog is in distress.

“Your first misdemeanor or class misdemeanor and it is subject to a fine of up to $500. 180 days in jail $2,000 fine,” said Victoria Medley, director of Amarillo Management and Welfare.

At Borger, they said they addressed the misconception that some residents banning chaining a dog meant it was a total ban on having dogs outdoors.

“We also have dogs that help out on the ranch and things like that and we didn’t want our residents to be confused thinking that this new outdoor law is preventing my outdoor dog from being outdoors. we just wanted to reiterate that it is humane treatment if the dog is left outside,” said Marisa Montoya, communications manager for the town of Borger.

The executive director of the Texas Humane Legislation Network and her colleagues have been pushing for six years and on Monday, Jan. 18, they say it’s a new day for outdoor dogs in Texas.

“You kill me because I haven’t been emotional at all today, you really made me stop and think what a great day it is. Why I love Texas Humane Legislation Network so much , it is through one law, you can effectively change the lives of dogs at any time. This is for all the dogs who perished during the February storm. It is in their memory that we are fixing the problem” said Shelby Bobosky, exec director of the Texas Humane Legislation Network.

In Amarillo, you can click here, to report violators virtually.

There are exceptions to this law, if you are camping with your dog or in other recreational areas.

If you own a herding or working dog that helps with farm chores and when hunting or participating in field trials.

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Norman D. Briggs