PETITION TARGET: Texas Senate President Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dade Phelan
UPDATE (6/22/2021): Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed this important and life-saving bill on June 18, saying the legislation would promote unnecessary “micromanaging” in a state of dog lovers.
Abbot, in his veto proclamation, said the bill — which had previously passed with a 28-3 vote in the Senate, a 83-32 vote in the House, and strong bipartisan support — would “compel” Texans to pay too much attention to the tailoring of their dogs’ collars, the time dogs spent in the bed of a truck, or the ratio of tether-to-dog length.
The governor’s decision got him slammed by the public, with the hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs trending on Twitter following his office’s announcement.
The bill had the support of animal control officers, law enforcement agencies, and county prosecutors, as well as animal advocates for provisions that would have banned keeping dogs outdoors tied to heavy chains, would have required animal control officers and shelters to scan lost pets for microchips, and also would have given tax breaks to pet rescue facilities.
We are beyond disappointed at the reckless rejection of this critical protection for dogs, who now will continue to face the deadly threats from chains and exposure in the Texan heat this summer.
We thank the more than 38, 600 people who signed our petition urging for the passing of this important legislation.
And we’ve started a petition denouncing Abbott’s veto, which you can sign here.
In the video, a dog chained outside in crushing Houston heat gasps for breath. When officials arrived, they found the dog weighed down by the heavy chain, with no shade, food, or water, and an external body temperature that topped 122 degrees.
A witness reported the dog had been left outside for an extended period of time. Despite rescue efforts, the dog died.
This sad situation is not an isolated incident. In Texas, per state law, law enforcement has to give guardians who inhumanely chain their dogs a 24 hour-period to “fix” the conditions before issuing a citation or taking action.
Numerous dogs in Texas have died after being chained, neglected, and left outside in life-threatening conditions. Other dogs chained outdoors freeze to death, choke on their heavy chains, or die slowly and painfully from dehydration.
It’s time for this cruel and inhumane law to change.
SB 474, a new bill proposed by Texas Sen. Eddie Lucio, would outlaw people from keeping their dogs restrained by chains — requiring instead leashes at least five times a dog’s body length — and would create criminal charges for people who leave their dogs outside without access to drinking water or shelter during rain or severe weather.
The bill also aims to eliminate the deadly 24-hour waiting period, so dogs in crisis can be saved in time.
Texas dogs deserve to be loved and cared for properly, and “guardians” who endanger their dogs should be punished by law. Without consequences, negligent guardians likely will continue to neglect and abuse the dogs who depend on them for safety and love.
Sign our petition urging the Texas Senate to support SB 474 to stop the neglect and abuse of Texas dogs left outside in dangerous, cruel, and deadly conditions.