On October 25, 2021, after the most contentious Texas legislative session in memory, the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act was signed into law. THLN never wavered during the six-year quest to pass this legislation, even when it was targeted by an extremist lawmaker and unexpectedly vetoed.
Texas dogs and the communities where they reside deserve a common-sense, balanced policy governing the restraint of dogs outdoors. The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, which went into effect January 18, 2022, achieves that by:
Arguably the most significant change brought by the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act is removing the 24-hour warning period that allowed bad actors to flout the law. Officers can take immediate action for tethered dogs in distress from now on.
Exceptions to the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act
The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act does not prevent owners from tethering dogs. The law requires that unattended dogs are tethered in a way that keeps them and the people around them safe, and there are several exceptions to the law. The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act does not apply to dogs who are:
Restraining Dogs Without Using Chains
The American Veterinary Medical Association and the Center for Disease Control agree that chaining dogs is an inappropriate method of restraint. Not only do chains tangle, rust, and break, but they often cause pain and injury.
Conversely, cable tie-outs and trolley systems are designed to restrain dogs, so they are lightweight, strong, and flexible. On average, they cost between $15-$30 and are easy to find in stores and online. Below are links to highly rated cable tie-outs and trolley systems:
Watch this short video to see examples of cable tie-outs recommended by a company that rates affordable pet products. Always install cable tie-outs and trolley systems according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Looking for resources or support to help friends and neighbors with outdoor tethered dogs make necessary changes?
The following list of resources is available to qualified applicants. Bear in mind each organization has its own application process and service area.
Local nonprofits and civic groups:
DALLAS/FORT WORTH: SPCA of Texas’ Russell H. Perry Pet Resource Center provides temporary support to pet owners in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex who are experiencing financial hardship and are at risk of having to surrender their pets. | Contact: [email protected]
MCLENNAN COUNTY: Cribs For Canines provides dog houses to under-resourced dog owners. | Contact: Cribs for Canines (cribs4canines.com)
PLEASANTON: Atascosa Animal Allies donates dog houses within the city limits of Pleasanton, Texas to those who qualify. They also operate a TNR program for feral cats and host monthly subsidized spay/neuter clinics for under-resourced pet owners in Atascosa County. | Contact: [email protected]
TRAVIS COUNTY: The City of Austin Fencing Assistance Program donates fence material to under-resourced dog owners in Travis County. The city also donates dog houses to qualified residents. | Contact: [email protected]
WILLIAMSON COUNTY: Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter – serving Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander, Hutto, and rural Williamson County. Donates dog houses and other items to under-resourced dog owners. | Contact: [email protected]
The Home Depot | Community Impact Grants Grants are available to nonprofit groups working to help local citizens.
THLN wants to help those in underserved communities, and we need your help!
We encourage everyone who wants to see the successful implementation of the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act to engage at the local level.
Consider doing the following in your community to help outdoor dogs:
Click here for free DIY Doghouse blueprints.
Are you already working in your community to help under-resourced dog owners? Do you have other ideas for assisting folks in complying with the new law? We'd love to hear it!
Show Us Your Success Stories
The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act starts a brand-new chapter for Texas dogs. And nothing is better for showing the impact of this law than your stories of helping those in need. Send us your photos, videos, and firsthand accounts of helping those in your community…we can't wait to see your success!