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Texas’ New Pet Protection Laws

August 15, 2023

National Dog Day is coming up on August 26th. We have many reasons to celebrate our canine companions … and a few things to celebrate on their behalf. There have been quite a few new laws passed in recent years that help strengthen protections for animals and punish those who neglect and abuse them. A San Antonio, TX vet looks at some of Texas’ new animal protection laws below.  

Senate Bill 5

Also referred to as the Safe Outdoors Dog Act, this law went into effect in early 2022, and is specifically focused at protecting tethered dogs. The use of heavy chains and weights is now illegal. Chains must be at least ten feet, or five times the length of the dog. Fido also must have shelter from weather, so he is protected from heat and rain. The law also requires that tethered dogs be kept in areas that don’t contain standing water or excessive waste. They must also have potable water and a harness or collar that fits comfortably and properly. Anyone caught breaking the law is subject to a $500 fine. (Note: there are exceptions, such as when taking a dog camping or on picnics.)

House Bill 360

This one clarifies an element of animal abandonment laws, specifically in regards to TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) programs. These programs help control feral cat populations and also keep the kitties healthier through vaccinations. The new law specifically states that people participating in TNR programs cannot be charged with animal abandonment for releasing community cats.

Senate Bill 876

Bill 876 is aimed at puppy mills, and brings the Lone Star State into alignment with the rest of the U.S. The law requires anyone who has five or more breeding female dogs to have a license. The previous requirement was 11 breeding dogs, which was one of the highest in the country.

House Bill 598

This bill prohibits people who have been convicted of animal cruelty from owning pets for five years. The first offense is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine. The second charge can be elevated to a Class B misdemeanor. Houston’s list of offenders will also be made publicly available, which can help people screen out offenders when rehoming their pets.

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your San Antonio, TX pet hospital, today! 

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