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New Texas bill could punish dog owners who chain their pets

Dog chaining bill .jpg

A new bill making its way through the Texas House of Representatives could punish dog owners who keep their animals chained up for too long.

House Bill 1156 would make it a misdemeanor crime for dogs to be chained up in their backyards all day.

The bill requires owners to provide their dogs with:

-adequate shelter

-access to water

-access to shade

-an area to lie down

It also requires the leash the dog is chained on to be at least five times the length of the dog or 10 feet long.

Owners who failed to meet those guidelines could face a class C misdemeanor charge.

However, Lorreta Hyde from the Animal Rescue League of El Paso says the county already has strict laws when it comes to chainingyour dog up.

"It requires that no animal should be chained before 8 o'clock in the morning or after 10 o'clock at night. The chain has to be five times the length of the animal. It has to be no longer than two to three hours at any given time. It can never be in inclement weather, whether it be too hot or too cold," Hyde said.

She believes the bigger issue is enforcement.

"There aren't enough officers to go to each house and help them understand what is allowed and what's not allowed or what should be enforced. And, a lot of the officers are saying, 'This is the way it's always been and this is just the way it is here in the county.' I think that attitude needs to change here in the community," Hyde said.

Beyond enforcement, Hyde says it's important to educate dog owners about the laws and their options.

"A misdemeanor is a slap on the wrist, like a don't do it, let's fix the problem, but I think we need to educate the public that this is against the law to do," she said.

She says she will not adopt a dog out if the owner says they plan to chain it up on a regular basis.

"It's just wrong. It's just sad to see those for babies live their lives and have a horrible life," Hyde said.

The bill, which was co-sponsored by El Paso state Rep. Mary Gonzalez, is waiting to be passed out of a House committee.

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