A bill banning chain leashes for dogs has passed the Texas Senate. Its companion bill in the House--HB 940--is now under consideration.
With victory in the Texas Senate, animal rights advocates are now doing what they can to encourage House members to also vote in favor of the bill relating to the unlawful restraint of dogs.
"It would eliminate all chains, and it would require that people tether their dogs and not chain them," said Tama Lundquist, co-president of Houston PetSet, a non-profit advocating for the passage of the bill.
Chain leashes and short leashes are in use today in some Houston neighborhoods, but dog owners would have to change what they're doing if HB 940 passes the House and gets signed into law.
"You have to use a chain, because see some of these little bands that they have--they would break," said Robert Brown who chains two of his dogs to a tree outside his Southeast Houston home.
The bill would also require a dog's leash to be at least ten feet long or five times the length of the dog. The owner would also have to give the dog access to adequate shelter while leashed.
"A dog died on the end of a chain out in the heat because he didn't have shelter," said Tena Lundquist Faust, co-president of Houston PetSet. "He didn't have food and water. There were no laws that protected that animal."
Tena and Tama are hopeful for the House companion of Senate Bill 295 after it passed the Senate last week.
"We think it'll make it, but we still need people to reach out to their legislators and ask them to vote yes on this," said Tena.
Currently law enforcement has to give dog owners 24 hours' notice before taking action on a violation. The new bill would allow them to act immediately.
"A lot can happen in 24 hours, and also people abuse it," said Tama. "They change it in 24 hours, but a month later they're back to the same thing, and they've got to have that 24 hour grace period again. So we need to get rid of that."
If the so-called "Adequate Shelter and Restraint Bill" is passed by the Texas House, it will need to be signed by Governor Abbott in order to become law.