BEAUMONT, Texas — A new Texas law taking effect this month is aiming to protect dogs. It's called the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, and it has to do with dogs being tethered outside.
We've had laws like this all the way back to 2007, but the rules are changing. If you're a pet owner, we want to make sure you aren't breaking the law when it comes to leaving your dog outside.
Dogs are man’s best friend, and that is why a new Texas law is taking aim at people who are leaving their dogs outside in unsafe conditions.
Under the new law, you can no longer chain your pooch with weighted chains, and any tie-out must be a minimum of 10 feet long.
The new law goes into effect Jan. 18, 2022. Owners are required to follow the guidelines of the state and city to avoid having their pet taken and potential animal cruelty charges.
Dog owners in Southeast Texas said this new law is needed:
'I’m happy for it. I think the dogs need to have more freedom,” said dog owner Neal Riley. “I have seen some dogs chained up, and it’s just sad to see. Your heart breaks a little bit for them.
Along with the 10-foot tie, there also has to be an adequate shelter that can shield your pup from harsh weather.
Your dog also needs access to food and water.
So, when should you call animal control if you think a dog is in danger? Matthew Fortenberry with Beaumont Animal Control broke down some things to look for.
“First thing you want to look for is if the animal has room to move, Fortenberry said. “Does the animal have room to move out of its own waste before it's cleaned up? That will help you determine if it has a long enough tie-out. Like I said, it has to be either 10-foot-long or 5 times the length of the animal.”
If you get caught breaking the law, you can be charged up to $500.
And if you get caught multiple times, you may even face a misdemeanor charge.
Fortenberry said you can make sure you stay in compliance with this new law.
“If they are tethering their animal they need to have the proper collar such as this, then a cable not a chain, that has a swivel to help from tangling up,” Fortenberry said.
If you have any questions regarding the new law or just want to report animal abuse, you're encouraged to call 311.