“Animal welfare groups had high hopes for the passage of the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act during this year’s legislative session. However, in a shocking turn, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed the act, SB 474, last week, saying the current law is good enough,” reports the Times Record News.
The bipartisan bill had more than 95 co-authors from both political sides and was widely endorsed by law enforcement and the Texas Sheriff’s Association.
Six years in the making, SB 474 sought to prohibit owners from tethering unattended dogs outdoors without providing access to adequate shelter, shade and water. Forcing dogs to lie in standing water, feces or urine also would have violated the law. In addition to prohibiting chains with weights attached, SB 474 would have banned tethers that are shorter than 10 feet and also would have required appropriately sized collars that do not choke or impede breathing or cause pain or injury.
The bill passed in the Texas Senate 28-3 and the House 83-32 but died once it reached Abbott’s desk.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, Abbott said the bill would unfairly force dog owners to monitor the tailoring of the collar and the ratio of tether-to-dog length, imposing a maximum $500 fine, with up to 180 days in jail for those with a previous conviction for illegal restraint.
“Texas is no place for this kind of micromanaging and overcriminalization,” Abbott wrote, saying that animal cruelty laws already protect dogs.
Friends of Animals joins countless others in saying #AbbottHatesDogs. Texans, especially Texas’ dogs, deserve better.