New law provides protection for canine companions


photo or infographic by Cenia Moreira

HAPPY NEW YEAR. A new law starting January 2022 will add more restrictions to chaining dogs outside.

The dog pants in the heat of the summer, hoping its owner will return before sundown. His water has run out, his paws burn from the hot ground and with no shelter to turn to, he has no choice but to sit in the backyard for hours, hoping for some kind of relief from its suffering.

Dog chaining, the practice of improperly restraining a dog outside, is a form of neglect that affects numerous dogs everyday. Dogs may be restrained outside with heavy chains in the extreme heat and brutal cold for days, months and even years. In order to combat this, a new law will go into effect on January 18, 2022 that will make chaining dogs outside far more comfortable for the dog. 

While overdue, this law is incredibly beneficial not only for dogs who are chained outside, but also for deterring potentially abusive behaviors from owners who may not believe that the uncomfortable chaining dogs is harmful.

According to the “Texas Tribute,” the law prevents dogs from being restrained with chains, heavy weights and other materials not meant to be placed around the necks of dogs as well as requiring the length of the restraint to be over five times. This is extremely beneficial to dogs since without these regulations, dogs could be chained completely legally using whatever the owner saw fit, whether that be a heavy chain or a two foot rope.

Another benefit for dogs that comes with this law is the requirement for proper shelter for dogs living outside.The law states that dogs who live outside must have shelter from weather such as “rain, hail, sleet, snow, high winds, and extreme high or low temperatures.” Shelter is an often overlooked, but nevertheless essential, aspect of outside dog care since dogs require at least some protection from environmental hazards. Without shelter, dogs (especially here in Texas) can suffer from heatstroke in the summer and can freeze to death in the winter. By mandating shelter, these risks can be decreased and the dog’s quality of life can be drastically improved.

This law also benefits dog owners. Abuse is often not born out of hate but out of ignorance. Dog owners who may want the best for their companion simply may not know that what they do is harmful for their pet. Neglect can be easy to overlook, and a dog who may seem alright with living chained outside could very well be suffering, which no owner (hopefully) wants. By implementing this law, law enforcement and animal rights organizations can inform negligent owners on how to properly care for their animals and help them give their dog a better life.

While some people who oppose this law say it micro-manages people’s lives and the way they treat their pets too much, the implementation of this law will not completely outlaw restraining dogs outside. Instead, it guarantees that dogs who live outside get to live their best, most comfortable lives they can.