Safe Outdoor Dog Act Went into Effect Tuesday

On Tuesday, the Safe Outdoors Dog Act went into effect in the state of Texas. According to the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), the Safe Outdoors Dog Act is a law governing the restraint of outdoor dogs by:

  • Defining adequate shelter to protect dogs from extreme temperatures, inclement weather, and standing water. Previously, there was no definition for shelter, thus tethered dogs routinely perished from exposure.
  • Requiring access to drinkable water. Before the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, state law did not include this vital requirement.
  • Requiring safe restraints. The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act strikes the use of chains. Other means of restraint, such as cable tie-outs, may be used so long as they are correctly attached to a collar or harness designed to restrain a dog.
  • Removing a 24-hour waiting period previously required that prevented animal control or law enforcement officers from taking immediate action.

The Safe Outdoors Dog Act does not prevent owners from tethering dogs, but does define requirements that must be met to ensure the dog is allowed access to adequate shelter and water and limits the types of restraints allowed to be used.

The SPCA of Texas is supportive of this new law that will protect dogs living outdoors, and aims to provide resources to pet owners so that they may be in compliance with the new law.

The SPCA of Texas’ Russell H. Perry Pet Resource Center provides pet owners with the support they need to care for their pets. Services include building outdoor dog runs for owners so that they no longer have to restrain their dogs outdoors, offering pet food assistance, providing pet care supplies and more to help pet owners come into compliance with this new law. Pet owners seeking assistance for their pet through the SPCA of Texas’ Pet Resource Center can visit www.spca.org/prc or e-mail helpmypet@spca.org.

Additionally, the SPCA of Texas’ Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit, which responds to complaints of cruelty in Hunt County, Van Zandt County and Kaufman County, will work with owners to bring their pet’s living conditions into compliance with the Safe Outdoors Dog Act. To report suspected animal cruelty, please visit www.spca.org/abuse.

The Safe Outdoors Dog Act was made possible largely due to the work of THLN. The SPCA of Texas is proud to partner with them to improve the lives of animals in Texas.

To learn more about the Safe Outdoors Dog Act, please visit https://www.thln.org/a_brand_new_day.