A new Texas law that puts legal restrictions on placing a dog on a chain outside goes into effect on Tuesday, January 18th.  Here's what you need to know about this new law.

Not every citizen who chains up a dog is breaking the law.   Dogs are allowed to be chained up, but only under certain conditions. So, if you see.a dog chained up outside, how can you know if it's illegal or not?

What you need to look for when a dog is chained up

According to Cpl. Jeb Hilton with the Amarillo Police Department.

The law states that animals may not be left outside and unattended by use of restraint unless the owner provides the dog access to adequate shelter, an area to avoid standing water or exposure to excessive animal waste, shade from direct sunlight, and potable water. If any one sees a dog in any of these conditions that would be the time to call.

It also defines an unlawful restraint as a chain, anything attached to weights, a restraint shorter than 10 feet or five times the length of the dog measured from tip of the nose to base of the tail, or a collar or harness that is not properly fitted to the animal.

For more information on this visit here.

Owners will have to take the "chain" out of the equation

According to Jim Liggitt the City of Amarillo Compliance Director,

The State law, Chapter 821 of Health and Safety Code, relating to the unlawful restraint of a dog, has been amended on the State level and takes effect January 18, 2022.

The State law prohibits unreasonable restraint of a dog. Unreasonable restraint includes choke chains, pinch or prong-type collars, short tethers, unsafe conditions, lack of adequate shelter, insufficient surface, and lack of potable water.

It still allows a dog to be tied outdoors if it’s done right and the dog is not restrained unlawfully.

Inside the City of Amarillo, the City’s Municipal Code enforces those same animal-rights issues and supplements those protections even further. Specifically, Municipal Code bans the use of a chain to tie up a dog. A dog can be tied up by use of a rope, tether, or a cable. But not a chain. Additionally, the rope, tether or cable must also have a swivel at both ends, so it doesn’t get tangled up.

To report and issue contact Animal Management & Welfare online at amw.amarillo.gov or you can call 806-374-3038

What is the fine if the owner is in violation?

The charge will be Class C Misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500. Repeat offenders can be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor which could be a fine of up to $2000 and up to 180 days in County Jail.

What are the changes in State Law?

Victoria Medley, Director Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare shared the following document with us,

HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE 

 TITLE 10. HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ANIMALS 

 CHAPTER 821. TREATMENT AND DISPOSITION OF ANIMALS 

 SUBCHAPTER A. TREATMENT OF ANIMALS 

 Text of section effective until January 18, 2022 

 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. 

 Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 674 (H.B. 1411), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

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This is the information you need to know when the law starts on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.   If you do see a dog that is chained up, please make sure that the law is being broken before you call it in, and if you aren't sure then reach out to AAMW.

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