Austin American-Statesman features THLN and the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act

Originally Published in: Austin American-Statesman
Published on: 
July 26, 2023
Written By: Amethyst Martinez

As Texans across the state are battling with 100-plus degree days, many might not consider those that are highly susceptible to heat injuries: pets, and specifically dogs.

Check out some of these tips to protect your dog from the dangerous heat:

What laws protect dogs during these conditions?

The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, passed in 2021, protects them by:

  • Defining adequate shelter to shield dogs from extreme temperatures and standing water.
  • Ensuring that dogs can turn around, lie down and stand in shelters.
  • Defining appropriate restraints for dogs (i.e., not choking the dog or impeding its normal breathing or swallowing, not allowing for escape and not causing pain or injury to the dog).
  • Requiring access to drinkable water.
  • Ending a 24-hour warning period for pet owners, allowing officials to take immediate action for dogs in distress.


How can you help a dog in distress due to high temperatures?

According to Shelby Bobosky, executive director of the Texas Humane Legislation Network, the organization has been "inundated with calls, emails and texts from concerned Texans about the laws in these brutally hot conditions and what they can do to help."

Here are some tips if you're looking to help a dog in need:

  • Heat advisory warnings in your area? If you spot a dog outside without shelter or water, a local animal control center can do a welfare check.
  • Animals spotted in hot cars require immediate action. THLN recommends that you assess the situation, notify authorities, spread awareness and continue to monitor the dog.

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