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Bill hopes to save dogs by banning chains and requiring adequate shelter

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Posted at 7:47 AM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-28 14:48:20-04

Every year around flash flooding season, people urge dog owners to make sure their pet is not tied up in case of a flood. A bill in the Texas Legislature is looking to do more than just that. They are wanting to ban chains altogether and set specific rules for leaving your pet restrained and unattended.

The "adequate shelter bill" requires dog owners to provide shelter, shade and water to their dogs if they are left outside restrained and unattended. The bill would also require the dog to have an area that allows them to avoid standing water in case of a flood.

It also would ban chain restraints and would not allow dog owners to use weights to restrain their dog. If a dog owner wants to leave their pet outside, restrained and unattended, they would have to use a collar or harness that is properly fitted and a leash that is either five times the dogs length or longer than 10 feet.

The bill has a list of exceptions, including for those who enjoy camping with their dogs and for farm and cattle dogs.

The bill has the support of the Texas Human Legislation Network, a group that advocates for animal protection laws.

"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 Sherry Ferguson, executive director of the Houston Humane Society.

They said that in 2007, the Texas legislature passed a bill to address tethering standards, but unfortunately, the law gives little or no protection to a tethered dog and, as written, is unenforceable because no citations can be issued, only warnings.