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New Texas law aimed at keeping dogs safe outdoors now in effect

EL PASO, Texas -- Texas now has a new law which properly defines and mandates how unattended dogs can be kept outside.

The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act or SB5 officially went into effect Tuesday. It was signed by Governor Greg Abbott last October.

The act bans the use of heavy chains for tethering which can cause injuries to an animal, something animal activists have been fighting for for years.

It also mandates and better defines essentials for pets like shelter, shade, and water.

The new law also changes how animal services and law enforcement can take action.

"In the past, if (there) was a call out in a rural area, the sheriff's department was was required to give the owner a 24 hour notice and oftentimes that resulted in the death of the animal," said Deb Benedict, executive director of the Humane Society of El Paso. "So this is significant."

If pet owners have to tether their animal, humane forms of tethering like using cable-tie out or trolley system leashes are allowed. Other exemptions that allow tethering include camping, herding livestock, hunting, or leaving your dog in an open-air truck bed.

Violations are considered a Class C misdemeanor which include a fine of up to $500. The second offence bumps it up to a Class B misdemeanor, "which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000," according to Animals Services.

Animal Services said residents can unanimously call 311 to report anyone who's not in compliance.

"I think it really allows all of us to tell dog owners, the responsibility goes beyond just having an animal," said Benedict. "You really are required to think about their well being in terms of having them chained up out back the length of time they're outside."

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.



    1. STFU, fascist! I fully support this bill, but you are little more than a closet fascist, always wanting to imprison people for political reasons. Fortunately, you have never been in a position of power and never will.

    1. Sad isn’t it. Before digital you could go 10-20 years or even longer without coming across a proof error in the newspapers. These errors are probably because of voice to text software but someone needs to proofread.

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