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El Paso City Council plans to align city pet laws with state laws

EL PASO, Texas - Pets become members of our families when we welcome them into our homes. We take care of their every need, shelter them and love them. That is the case for most families who own pets but not all. In El Paso, specific laws are put in place to protect animals from neglect.

In the chapter 'Animals Generally' and section 'Standards for Animal Care' in the City of El Paso Code of Ordinance book, various laws state the regulations that explain animal treatment. To find the link with the laws, click here.

The City Council discussed Tuesday reducing the strictness of existing laws about keeping pets outside during inclement weather such as extreme heat, cold, or severe weather. Under current rules, the City of El Paso considers the following to be unlawful:

An owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog's movement:

  • Between the hours of ten p.m. and six a.m.;
  • Within five hundred feet of the premises of a school; or
  • In the case of extreme weather conditions, including conditions in which:
  • The actual or effective outdoor temperature is below thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit;
  • A heat advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service, or a local or state authority, including the City of El Paso; or
  • A tornado warning has been issued for the City or County of El Paso by the National Weather Service.

Penalties for one would receive range from Class C Misdemeanors with fines up to $500 to Class B Misdemeanors with penalties up to $2,000 or 180 days in jail for second offenders.

Texas passed the Safe Outdoors Act in Oct. 2021, which changes the regulations, and the City of El Paso plans to align the city laws with those of the state. Those new regulations include the following:

  • A ban of chain tethers and weights around the neck of dogs, and instead the use of a properly fitted collar, as well as a long enough leash to allow them to move around.
  • Giving dogs access to an adequate shelter that will protect them from extreme weather such as cold, hot or severe weather events.
  • The shelter must be big enough for them to be able to sit, stand, lie down and move freely
  • Dogs should have outdoor access to clean drinking water.

You can find Texas pet laws here.

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Katie Frazier

Katie Frazier is an ABC-7 meteorologist.


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