URGENT STATEWIDE ALERT - Please forward to dog lovers throughout Texas!
- from our friends at Texas Federation of Animal Care Societies.
UPDATE 10/07/09 - HB 634 was killed in committee, but we will be back next session!"
UPDATE 7/11/07 - HB 1411 passed into LAW with no opposition from the House or Senate. The new law will take effect in September 2007.
Thank you to Erin Colletti, Representative Buddy West and John Hubbard, a Lobbyist for the Texas Federation of Humane Societies for their team effort and dedication! Below is the final language of HB 1411
An Act relating to the unlawful restraint of dogs; providing penalties.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Chapter 821, Health and Safety Code, is amended by adding Subchapter D to read as follows:
SUBCHAPTER D. UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT OF DOG
Sec. 821.076. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
(1) "Collar" means any collar constructed of nylon, leather, or similar material, specifically designed to be used for a dog.
(2) "Owner" means a person who owns or has custody or control of a dog.
(3) "Properly fitted" means, with respect to a collar, a collar that measures the circumference of a dog's neck plus at least one inch.
(4) "Restraint" means a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or other device that attaches a dog to a stationary object or trolley system.
Sec. 821.077. UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT OF DOG. (a) An owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog's movement:
(1) between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.;
(2) within 500 feet of the premises of a school; or
(3) in the case of extreme weather conditions, including conditions in which:
(A) the actual or effective outdoor temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit;
(B) a heat advisory has been issued by a local or state authority or jurisdiction; or
(C) a hurricane, tropical storm, or tornado warning has been issued for the jurisdiction by the National Weather Service.
(b) In this section, a restraint unreasonably limits a dog's movement if the restraint:
(1) uses a collar that is pinch-type, prong-type, or choke-type or that is not properly fitted to the dog;
(2) is a length shorter than the greater of:
(A) five times the length of the dog, as measured from the tip of the dog's nose to the base of the dog's tail; or
(B) 10 feet;
(3) is in an unsafe condition; or
(4) causes injury to the dog.
Sec. 821.078. EXCEPTIONS. Section 821.077 does not apply to:
(1) a dog restrained to a running line, pulley, or trolley system and that is not restrained to the running line, pulley, or trolley system by means of a pinch-type, prong-type, choke-type, or improperly fitted collar;
(2) a dog restrained in compliance with the requirements of a camping or recreational area as defined by a federal, state, or local authority or jurisdiction;
(3) a dog restrained for a reasonable period, not to exceed three hours in a 24-hour period, and no longer than is necessary for the owner to complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be restrained;
(4) a dog restrained while the owner is engaged in, or actively training for, an activity that is conducted pursuant to a valid license issued by this state if the activity for which the license is issued is associated with the use or presence of a dog;
(5) a dog restrained while the owner is engaged in conduct directly related to the business of shepherding or herding cattle or livestock; or
(6) a dog restrained while the owner is engaged in conduct directly related to the business of cultivating agricultural products, if the restraint is reasonably necessary for the safety of the dog.
Sec. 821.079. PENALTY. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly violates this subchapter.
(b) A peace officer or animal control officer who has probable cause to believe that an owner is violating this subchapter shall provide the owner with a written statement of that fact. The statement must be signed by the officer and plainly state the date on which and the time at which the statement is provided to the owner.
(c) A person commits an offense if the person is provided a statement described by Subsection (b) and fails to comply with this subchapter within 24 hours of the time the owner is provided the statement. An offense under this subsection is a Class C misdemeanor.
(d) A person commits an offense if the person violates this subchapter and previously has been convicted of an offense under this subchapter. An offense under this subsection is a Class B misdemeanor.
(e) If a person fails to comply with this subchapter with respect to more than one dog, the person's conduct with respect to each dog constitutes a separate offense.
(f) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.
Sec. 821.080. DISPOSITION OF PENALTY. Notwithstanding any other law, the clerk of a court that collects a penalty under this subchapter shall remit the penalty collected for deposit in the general fund of the county.
Sec. 821.081. HAND-HELD LEASHES. This subchapter does not prohibit a person from walking a dog with a hand-held leash.
SECTION 2. (a) The change in law made by this Act applies only to an offense committed on or after September 1, 2007.
(b) An offense committed before September 1, 2007, is covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose. For purposes of this section, an offense was committed before September 1, 2007, if any element of the offense was committed before that date.
SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2007.
President of the Senate Speaker of the House
I certify that H.B. No. 1411 was passed by the House on May 3, 2007, by the following vote: Yeas 139, Nays 0, 2 present, not voting.
Chief Clerk of the House
I certify that H.B. No. 1411 was passed by the Senate on May 23, 2007, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0
Good morning~ I am a supporter in Texas and just wanted to pass this along to you. I am fighting chaining in my part of Texas, and have decided to at least attack this problem one city at a time. Your information on your website regarding the Texas law is missing some important information….. information which makes the chaining law all but worthless. In section 821.077 of the law there are the words: “….by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog’s movements” as a clause. Because of this wording, as long as the dog is on a 12ft tether (or shorter if the dog is smaller), the dog pretty much has an unchanged life. He/She will remained chained in the same awful conditions, without regard to temperature, length of time, weather conditions etc. I know this because I have had lengthy discussions with Animal Control officers in our area.
Please consider adding something to your website that includes this information. The latitude that this law allows does virtually nothing to help the dogs, and is a source of huge frustration for the good Animal Control Officers who feel that their hands are tied because of it. To someone living in Texas who is visiting your website, it looks as tho all is well for dogs in our State, when in fact, it is not. The removal of this simple clause (state above) would completely change the law and it needs to be addressed by those of us who care.
I am headed to a city meeting tonight in my town to do this. And, when I am successful, I plan on hitting all of the towns in my area. Chaining is still an awful problem in Texas and people need to know that.