Safe Outdoor Dogs Legislation to Be Heard in House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Today

Safe Outdoor Dogs Legislation to Be Heard in House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Today
HB 873 would have prevented unnecessary deaths in recent winter storm

March 8, 2021

Austin, Texas – Today, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee is hearing HB 873 by Chair Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth). HB 873 includes key elements to protect dogs, including from extreme outdoor temperatures, which could have prevented unnecessary deaths during last month's winter storm. The legislation 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 their surrounding communities.

"We received hundreds of calls, texts, and emails as the temperature dropped last month, including reports of dogs freezing and dying," said Shelby Bobosky, Executive Director of THLN. "Our Safe Outdoor Dogs bill would have prevented many of these unnecessary deaths and would have made it easier to intervene in life-threatening situations."

Along with preventing exposure to extreme temperature, the legislation also ensures dogs have access to drinking water and can move around without being trapped in standing water or mud. The legislation strikes the 24-hour waiting period in the current statute so that law enforcement can address critical situations immediately, instead of only after tragedy has struck. 

"We are very thankful to Chair Collier for filing and supporting the Safe Outdoor Dogs bill. As seen in last month's tragedy, it is not enough to provide temporary fixes like free dog houses. We must clarify the law to require adequate shelter," said Bobosky. "As summer approaches and we prepare for extreme heat conditions, HB 873 could help prevent future death without infringing upon the freedom of Texas dog owners."

If the bill is voted out of committee, it will move to the Calendars Committee to be scheduled for consideration by the House floor.

To learn more or to schedule an interview about safe outdoor dogs legislation, contact Cara Gustafson at 561-797-8267 or [email protected]