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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs new version of Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, a bill he vetoed in May

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A new law that will make the unlawful restraint of a dog a crime in Texas will go into effect in January. - PEXELS / ANNA TARAZEVICH
  • Pexels / Anna Tarazevich
  • A new law that will make the unlawful restraint of a dog a crime in Texas will go into effect in January.

Shitty pet owners take note: a new Texas law will make it a crime to inhumanely restrain a dog.

This legislation was signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday. The measure is similar to another bill passed by the Texas Lege back in May that sought to establish basic standards of shelter and care for dogs restrained outdoors.

Though the earlier measure, the Safe Outdoor Dogs Bill, passed with bipartisan support Texas Governor Greg Abbott vetoed it, saying Texas was no place for such “micro-managing” and “over-criminalization.” Outraged pet owners responded on social media with the hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs, which trended following the veto.

The vetoed bill required owners to provide outdoor pups with adequate shelter from extreme weather conditions, access to drinkable water and humane tethering conditions. It also banned the use of heavy chains as restraints.

The new version of the Safe Outdoor Dogs Bill is not terribly dissimilar from the vetoed proposal, though it outlines the proper treatment of a tethered dog more clearly, according to a report by the Texas Tribune. It goes into effect Jan. 18.

In the new bill, dog collars must be made of “material specifically designed to be placed around the neck of a dog,” and restraints must be no shorter than five times the dog’s length. The law also says dogs must have shelter from “inclement weather.” Violations are considered a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500.

The new law mirrors two San Antonio ordinances already on the books and supports their enforcement by escalating penalties for repeat offenders, according to a statement from the city's Animal Care Services Department. Residents who have previously been convicted of the law can face a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in the County jail or a fine up to $2,000.

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