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Local News

Abbott vetoes bill expanding animal cruelty laws

todayJune 21, 2021

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There were 9,999 pieces of legislation filed between the House and Senate during the recently wrapped-up 87th Texas Legislative Session. According to Texas Legislature Online and confirmed by the Governor’s office, Abbott signed 1,034, vetoed 20 and allowed 105 to become law without his signature.

One of the bills the governor vetoed is Senate Bill 474, known as the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, which was designed to expand animal cruelty laws, specifically to restraining dogs. The bipartisan act would have made it a Class C misdemeanor if someone knowingly leaves a dog outside unattended while restrained unless the owner can provide adequate shelter, potable wate and shade from direct sunlight.

The act goes on to say owners couldn’t use a chain to restrain the dog, or a tether that has weights attached or is shorter than 10 feet or five times the length of the dog measured from nose to tail. It also stipulates that the dog’s collar or harness “fit properly.”

Animal control officers, law enforcement agencies, county prosecutors and animal advocates called for reform to the existing tethering law passed nearly 15 years ago to prevent cruel and inhumane tethering. Some cities, including Dallas and Galveston, have adopted their own tethering ordinances.

Abbott said, “Texas is no place for this kind of over-criminalization,” and went on to explain that statutes “already protect them by outlawing true animal cruelty.” The bill passed the Senate 28-3 and the House 83-32.

Abbott is the owner of a golden retriever named Pancake. Still, many dog lovers on Twitter are condemning the governor for his decision, starting a new trend, #AbbottHatesDogs.


Written by: Michelle Layton

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