Safe Outdoor Dogs Legislation Passes 4-0 Out of Senate Committee on Criminal Justice

SB 474 would clarify existing law and establish basic standards of shelter and care for dogs restrained outdoors.

April 14, 2021

Austin, Texas – Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice passed SB 474 by Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) on a vote of 4 to 0. A top legislative priority for the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), SB 474 would establish basic standards of shelter and care for dogs left outdoors and provide much-needed clarification to existing law to promote the safety of animals and the people around them.

"Yesterday's vote is a critical step toward protecting outdoor dogs, improving public safety, and still respecting the freedoms of Texas dog owners," said Stacy Sutton Kerby, Director of Government Relations for THLN. "We are grateful to Chair John Whitmire and the members of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice for their support on this important legislative issue."

The legislation also ensures dogs have access to drinkable water and can move around without being trapped in standing water or any other dangerous substance. Along with preventing exposure to extreme weather, the legislation strikes the 24-hour waiting period in the current statute. This will allow law enforcement to address critical situations immediately, before tragedy strikes. 

The bill also includes key exemptions to respect dog owners' choices and the variety of ways in which dogs accompany Texans outdoors. Exemptions include dogs restrained in public places like parks and campgrounds, those used for farming, field trials, hunting tasks, dogs restrained on a trolley system, and those temporarily unattended in an open-air truck bed. 

"We thank Senator Lucio for his leadership on the Safe Outdoor Dogs bill, and we look forward to continuing moving through the legislative process, where we already see strong, bipartisan support," finished Kerby. 

To learn more or schedule an interview about Safe Outdoor Dogs legislation, contact Cara Gustafson at 561-797-8267 or [email protected] 

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