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Texas Cities Pass Dog-Friendly Ordinances to Restrict Tethering

Texas Cities Pass Dog-Friendly Ordinances to Restrict Tethering

At some point in your life, you’ve likely seen a dog tied to a stake in the ground or tethered to a pole. Granted, sometimes it is necessary to restrain your pup.

After all, we can’t just leave dogs free to roam around the city. That can be dangerous, and in many instances, against the law.

But what about a dog who is left tied up all the time? The animal might be running around in circles, pulling at its leash, or just resigned to the fact that its stuck. Unfortunately, this is how some people choose to treat man’s best friend; by tying him up in the yard with virtually no freedom and little to no attention.

Even worse, the dog might be left exposed to the elements with no ability to find shade on a hot day or warmth during the winter months. To many pet owners, such treatment seems almost cruel. Being confined to a small circle stretching only as far as the rope or chain will permit is certainly not a very pleasant way to live.

Most people would agree that this isn’t a fair way to treat a dog. In recent years, animal lovers are speaking out and many Texas cities are taking action.

While there are state laws against animal cruelty, the question of tethering is left to the cities. Cities have the option of whether to allow this activity or not. Fortunately, many cities are starting to address the issue.

Dallas recently passed an ordinance which outlawed tethering altogether. There are also cities which have less stringent limitations. In Houston, it is not illegal to tether your pet. However, there are specifications on how an animal may be tethered. Under Houston’s tethering ordinance, the restraint must be the greater of 10 feet in length or 5 times the length of the dog. Additionally, the weight of the tether can’t cause physical harm or visible discomfort to the dog. Admittedly, these restrictions are better than nothing, but 10 feet doesn’t provide much room for a playful pup to enjoy life.

If you are troubled by animals being treated this way, you can certainly take action. If you’ve got a neighbor who leaves their pet staked to the ground 24/7, check your city’s ordinances. There may already be a solution on the books.

If there’s not, then make yourself heard. There are several ways to encourage a city to take action. You can start a buzz on social media, or if you want to be more direct, attend a city council meeting and make your feelings known.

A citizen in the City of Mesquite recently did just that. He was upset by dogs being left tethered outside during heavy rainfall. He spoke out at his local city council meeting regarding the issue and asked the city council to follow Dallas’s lead by outlawing tethering altogether. Coincidently or not, the City of Mesquite is now looking into amending their ordinances in order to make the city more pet-friendly. Other cities, including Sequin and San Antonio have passed ordinances with restrictions on how a dog may be tethered. There seems to be a recent trend in Texas of cities looking out for their furry friends.

This is at least partially due to animal lovers making their opinions known. Dogs are pretty amazing animals, but they can’t speak up for themselves. Sometimes it takes a compassionate person to stand up for our four-legged pals.

 

Brandon Morris is an experienced litigation attorney who has worked on a wide variety of cases, including personal injury claims, Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act (DTPA) violations, family law, criminal law, and credit collections. Brandon joined the Randle Law Office team early in 2018.

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