What is going on in Texas? A dog abuse bill passes with bipartisan support. Governor Greg Abbott recently vetoes it. He says SB 474, The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, goes too far into “micro-managing and over-criminalization” of how dog owners handle their pets outdoors. Now it’s back.

Dogs Are the Victims Not Owners

Goes too far? To protect defenseless dogs from negligent owners?  

Dogs chained up or penned outdoors are in danger if they cannot escape the heat. And it gets hot in Texas.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest global animal rights organization. It reports that the more time dogs experience hyperthermia (high body temperature), the more likely they will die from it. 

If a dog is highly active (like a Texas working dog) and develops heat stroke, it can die within 30 minutes if left untreated.

PETA adds that many dogs who receive emergency treatment still do not survive.

Abbott Rethinks Dog Abuse Bill Veto

In the end, it was a decision that bit Gov. Greg Abbott in the butt. His veto of the dog abuse bill blew up into a full-scale uproar in the canine community. 

The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act is championed by:

  • animal rights groups, 
  • animal control associations, 
  • statewide law enforcement agencies,  
  • associations of veterinarians. 

The hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs is visible everywhere on social media. 

Now Abbott is asking the State Legislature to take up SB 474 again — during the next special legislative session. 

The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act and the Problem

SB 474 calls for making it illegal to use a chain to restrain a dog outside. It also requires adequate shelter, shade, and water for the animal. 

Sounds logical and humane to me.

But, Gov. Abbott focused on the fact that “Senate Bill 474 would require all dog owners, on pain of criminal penalties, to monitor things like the tailoring of the dog’s collar, the time a dog spends in the bed of a truck, and the ratio of tether-to-dog length, as measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail.”

Abbott additionally may believe an existing TX law is enough to protect dogs. That law lists health and safety codes relating to an unlawful restraint of a dog. But backers of SB 474 say the problem with that 2007 law is that it is so vague it makes enforcement difficult for animal control agencies.

What’s Going On Now with Dog Abuse Bill

The LadyFreeThinker organization is holding a petition campaign. It urges Gov. Abbott to support the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act this time around.

The organization says the new dog abuse bill addresses Abbott’s previous “objections.” The bill also establishes a definition of what makes up adequate shelter and care for dogs. For example, leaving a dog chained outside in the hot sun without food or water becomes illegal.

That sounds like a no-brainer. As do these stats:

  • Texas population is approx. 29 million people ( 2020 Census)
  • Texas dog ownership is 44% of households (American Veterinary Medical Association)

Those are a lot of dogs. And a lot of dog owners. These are most likely responsible owners disgusted by the constant mistreatment of dogs. And they vote, Gov. Abbott.

Click on the link to add your voice to the The LadyFreeThinker organization dog abuse bill petition campaign.

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