HOUSTON - Except for making animal cruelty a felony, the new law is the most important for dogs ever passed in the Lone Star State.
"Texans have their dogs outside, they keep them in outdoor spaces," said Tena Lundquist Faust co-President of Houston PetSet. "This impacts a lot of dogs, thousands and thousands of dogs."
Prior to the new law, dog owners had 24 hours to make changes if an officer was concerned about a tethered animal’s safety.
Come January 18, dogs can be removed immediately and owners issued a class C misdemeanor citation.
"It also defines shelter," Lundquist-Faust said. "We’ve never had an adequate definition of shelter and now we do."
The new law also requires tethered dogs have access to drinkable water and food.
"It defines the length of the tether. It’s got to be at least 10 feet or five times the length of the animal, so it depends on the size of the animal," said Lundquist-Faust.
The new law also prohibits the use of heavy chains or any kind of weight as tethers.
The new law does provide exceptions, such as when camping or at recreational areas or when a temporary restraint is being used.
"It’s not an overreach, we are just saying dogs need to be protected," Lundquist-Faust said. "We don’t want to continue to see dogs suffering and dying on the end of chains and hopefully this law will prevent that."