On October 25, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law to protect dogs from being chained outdoors for long periods of time, and/or without protection. Texas Senate Bill 5 goes into effect on January 18, 2022, and it includes several rules regarding the unlawful restraint of dogs.
The new law aims to keep dogs from being subjected to pain and suffering while outside. SB 5 prohibits owners from leaving their dogs outside during inclement weather, including extreme heat or cold. It also mandates proper shelter for dogs to protect them from the elements, specifically:
“Adequate shelter” means a sturdy structure: (A) that provides the dog protection from
inclement weather; and (B) with dimensions that allow the dog while in
the shelter to stand erect, sit, turn around, and lie down in a
The new law also defines what type of collars dogs are allowed to be wearing. SB 5 states that “Properly fitted” means, with respect to a collar or harness, a collar or harness that: (A) is appropriately sized for the dog based on the dog’s measurements and body weight; (B) does not choke the dog or impede the dog’s normal breathing or swallowing; and (C) does not cause pain or injury to the dog.
SB 5 defines unlawful restraint of a dog and the various protections which must be in place to keep dogs safe from harm:
Sec. 821.102. UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT OF DOG; OFFENSE. (a) An
owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a
restraint unless the owner provides the dog access to:
(1) adequate shelter;
(2) an area that allows the dog to avoid standing water
and exposure to excessive animal waste;
(3) shade from direct sunlight; and
(4) potable water.
(b) An owner may not restrain a dog outside and unattended
by use of a restraint that:
(1) is a chain;
(2) has weights attached;
(3) is shorter in length than the greater of:
(A) five times the length of the dog, as measured
from the tip of the dog’s nose to the base of the dog’s tail; or
(B) 10 feet; or
(4) is attached to a collar or harness not properly
Pet owners who violate the terms set forth in the law will face a Class C misdemeanor or a Class B misdemeanor for a repeated offense.
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