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Dog Laws in Texas

It’s important to keep our dogs away from strangers no matter how friendly we think our pets may be. If you are not there with your dog and strangers may have access to him or her, you could be at risk of being sued if your dog attacks another person. Have you ever wondered what the rules were related to your furry ones being outside or even chained to something?  Texas has put the law in place to address these issues and concerns.

Texas Laws Regarding The Restraint of Dogs

According to Texas laws, you cannot simply just chain your dog to something and let that solve the issue. Sec. 821.077 sets out to address owners who attempt to restrain their dog by chain or rope:

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.

Restraint, Impoundment, and Disposition of Dogs and Cats

(a) The governing body of a municipality and the commissioners court of a county may adopt ordinances or rules under Section 826.014 or 826.015 to require that:

(1) each dog or cat be restrained by its owner;

(2) each stray dog or cat be declared a public nuisance;

(3) each unrestrained dog or cat be detained or impounded by the local rabies control authority or that officer’s designee;

(4) each stray dog or cat be impounded for a period set by ordinance or rule;  and

(5) a humane disposition be made of each unclaimed stray dog or cat on the expiration of the required impoundment period.

(b) A jurisdiction may not be subject to dual restraint ordinances or rules.

(c) The enforcing agency may adopt an ordinance setting a fee for the impoundment and board of a dog or cat during the impoundment period.  The animal’s owner must pay the fee before the animal may be released.

(d) The enforcing agency shall deposit the fees collected in the treasury of the enforcing agency. The fees may be used only to help defray the cost of administering this chapter or the ordinances or rules of the enforcing agency within its jurisdiction.

Although there are exceptions to these rules and every county has different ones. A good rule of thumb is to always make sure that if you are walking your dog that you have them on a leash. As well trained as your pup may be, you never know when a stray cat may run out and all of a sudden it’s off to the races. Also, if you let your pet out in the yard please make sure there are no holes in the fence. The leading cause of owners losing their pets is because they have gone through a hole in the fence or they have dug out.

If you follow these simple rules you should have no legal issues with your furry pet and they should keep you and your family company for years to come.

About the Author

With over 100 years of combined experience among the legal team of Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., our Texas personal attorneys have successfully resolved over 20,000 cases. When representing injured Texas residents, we fight for justice against wrongdoing and aggressively pursue the best resolution to complex personal injury claims. Start down the road to recovery by contacting us for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.

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