OPINION: Dog-tethering law is finally signed by Gov. Abbott

Originally Featured The Beaumont Enterprise


It took a lot longer than it should have, but a long-overdue bill to humanely limit the ways in which dogs can be tethered outside in Texas has finally been signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott. We’d like to say it’s just in time for the cold winter weather coming to our state, but thanks to Abbott’s strange reluctance, the bill won’t take effect until Jan. 18. That’s well into the cold weather for many parts of Texas.

A similar version of this bill was passed in the regular session that ended in May after years of effort and compromises by its supporters and sponsor, state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville. It passed by solid bipartisan margins in the House and Senate. Abbott’s office gave no indication as the bill was taking shape that it had any problems with the legislation.

But then Abbott abruptly vetoed it, apparently giving in to the faction of voters who regard any restriction on them in any way — such as wearing a mask or getting a vaccine to protect them from a deadly disease — as a sneaky violation of their personal rights.

What these people do with their own lives in one thing, but no one has the “right” to mistreat pets or livestock. This bill — Senate Bill 5, known as the “Safe Outdoor Dogs” Act — finally address some longstanding problems with dogs that are tethered.

It bans the use of heavy chains, weights or improperly fitted collars. It requires animals housed outside to have adequate shelter that keeps them safe from inclement weather and allows them to sit, stand and move around comfortably. The dog must also be able to avoid standing water and exposure to excessive animal waste.


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