To prevent animal neglect, governments across the globe must enforce stricter legislation that will penalize abusers. As much as Americans love their pets, legal protections for our furry best friends vary from state to state and sometimes from city to city or county to county. Far too many are still lagging behind. Fortunately, society has begun to recognize animal abuse as part of the cycle of violence, and we are pleased to have seen an uptick in states toughening animal cruelty legislation in recent years. Today, we are thrilled to recognize Texas for a new law that will help to protect dogs in the area.
Starting on January 18, 2022, unattended dogs will no longer be allowed to be restrained with chains or heavy weights outdoors in the state of Texas. The practice has been banned in San Antonio since October of 2017, and we applaud Governor Greg Abbott for expanding the law to be state-wide, protecting more of our canine friends.
Known as the Safe Outdoor Dogs Bill, the new law says dogs must have shelter from “inclement weather,” which includes “rain, hail, sleet, snow, high winds, extreme low temperatures, or extreme high temperatures.” They must have shade from direct sunlight, drinking water and an area that allows the animal to avoid standing water and exposure to excessive animal waste. Dog collars must be made of “material specifically designed to be placed around the neck of a dog.” Restraints must also be no shorter than five times the dog’s length.
Additionally, the new law eliminates the 24-hour rule that previously barred law enforcement from intervening if an animal was observed in inhumane or illegal conditions. This could make all the difference in a life-or-death situation.
We hope other states will follow in Texas’ footsteps and be inspired to strengthen their own animal cruelty laws. Animals should always be treated with the utmost respect, and we call on all states, cities and counties across the nation to enforce stronger penalties against abusers. It is only harsh penalties that will truly inhibit barbarity.
If you do witness animal abuse or neglect, report it to your local animal control, law enforcement or humane organization.