Since 2015, animal advocates in Texas have been fighting for stricter tether laws. Too many dogs were being left outside in dangerous conditions, which put their lives at risk. But in October 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott finally passed a bill that will save many dogs from neglect and abuse.
That bill went into effect on January 18th, 2022. Now, Texas residents must avoid inhumane tethering methods to protect their furry friends. Dogs need to have a safe lead, access to water, and suitable shelter while outside. This new law is a huge improvement for animal welfare, but many residents are confused about its specifics.
What Does the New Law Entail?
Under this new law, people can face criminal penalties if they tether a dog in inhumane conditions. Specifically, they’re moving away from chains and heavy weights, which could injure a dog. Having a lead that’s easier to move can lessen the risk of dogs choking.
“We do have issues with strangulation,” said Corpus Christi Animal Care Services field supervisor Venessa Scarbrough. “They jump a fence, they’re unable to move back and forth, it’s more restrictive being tied to a stationary point. So being on a trolley just gives them a little more freedom to move back and forth, and they’re less likely to get entangled.”
In addition to the tether’s material, the tie must also be long enough for the dog to comfortably sit, stand, and move around. Any dogs tied outside must have access to shelter, shade, and clean water.
Dog parents who break this law may be fined $500. Those who do it more than once could face a $2,000 fine or 180 days in jail. Dog lovers believe these new rules will positively impact dogs across the state.
Humane Tethering Methods
However, when the law was first announced, many people were confused about what qualified as a “humane tethering method.” Lots of residents questioned whether or not they could tie their dogs outside at all. The answer is yes; dogs can be tied outside, as long as you use a safe lead and give them their basic necessities.
Animal advocates recommend a trolley leash as opposed to a stationary tether. It allows dogs to move around more freely. The main issue this law is trying to prevent is chaining. Chains are often heavy for humans to carry, so dogs shouldn’t be forced to drag them around outside. A coated metal cable with a comfortable collar is a safer alternative.
“I’m very happy that the state has taken these steps because it reinforces what the city’s already done,” said Corpus Christi Mayor Paulette Guajardo. “And it also places a huge emphasis on the fact that animals must be treated in a better manner. So all of those things are essential to caring for our little family members with four legs.”
Dogs are part of the family, so they should always be treated as such. Hopefully, this statewide law will help keep more dogs safe and comfortable when outside. Despite causing some confusion at first, these changes are a major improvement for the wellbeing of animals in Texas.