Seeing a dog tethered to a post outside during terrible storms or snow is always a heartbreaking sight. Animal control officers and even police receive calls every day from concerned citizens about seeing a dog chained in a cruel manner, the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) said.
But a proposal that could help stop the inhumane treatment of dogs in Texas is seeing success in the state legislature, Chron reports. Senate Bill 295 would criminalize the act of unlawfully tethering dogs with chains and failing to provide adequate shelter.
SB 295, also known as the "Adequate Shelter and Restraint Bill," was recently approved by the Texas Senate. It defines adequate shelter as "a clean and sturdy shelter that allows the dog protection from rain, sleet, snow and subfreezing temperatures." The provisions, the bill dictates, must be big enough so that the dog can sit, stand, turn around, and lie down in a comfortable and natural position.
The bill also bans people from chaining dogs, putting them on a leash with an attached weight, or using a leash that is not bigger than five times the length of the dog.
"Our cruelty investigators regularly encounter dogs that have died from starvation and dehydration—especially in the summer months—after having twisted their chains or ropes to the point where they could no longer reach their food or water bowls," said Houston Humane Society executive director Sherry Ferguson.
Owners, if the bill becomes law, could be charged with a class c misdemeanor.
Along with SB 295, HB 940 is under deliberation in the House and would support the adequate shelter bill so that it is properly enforced. Instead of giving warnings, officers would be required to charge owners with a violation if they are found breaking the law.
The law, if it is passed and signed, will take effect on September 1 of this year.