Dogs can rest a bit easier now in the Lone Star State.
Both literally and figuratively.
A new law went into effect this week that requires any dog tethered outside to have adequate shelter, access to clean water and freedom to move away from standing water or its own waste.
The law also bans the use of chains to keep a dog restrained or tying dogs to weights.
The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act was passed by the Legislature in October and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott, who had vetoed an earlier version of the bill. It went into effect Tuesday.
First offense is a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500. Subsequent offenses raise it up to a Class B misdemeanor, which could mean a fine of up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail..
Something else to consider. With colder weather likely to come on soon, everyone should be aware, as well, that it's illegal in Texas to leave a pet outside in severe weather. That includes freezing temperatures, heat advisories, tropical storms and tornado warnings.
We support these protections for our animal companions. They depend on us for their care and well-being. And we hope the police and courts do their part to make sure violators face the proper legal consequences.