New outdoor dog law takes effect Jan. 18

staff reports

The Van Alstyne Police Department took to social media this week to remind residents about the new Safe Outdoor Dog Bill that goes into effect on Jan. 18. 

Whether the animal is tethered to a fixed point or a pulley, the tether must be attached to a properly fitted collar.  Pinch, prong and choke type collars cannot be used, and the tether cannot be wrapped directly around an animal’s neck. The tether also must be either ten feet long or five times the length of the animal from nose to tail (whichever is longer) 

Dogs cannot be restrained with a chain or any restraints with weights attached. All retrained animals also must have access to adequate shelter, with enough room to allow them to sat, stand and move around comfortably. They must also have shelter from bad weather, including rain, hail, snow, high winds and extreme low or high temperatures. 

The area where a dog is restrained must include shade, drinkable water and enough space so that the animal can avoid standing water and excessive animal waste. All restrained animals must also have restraints that do not become entangled and keeps the animal within the owner’s property. 

Owners cannot leave dogs restrained an unattended if the temperature falls below freezing, if a head advisory has been issued, or if a hurricane, tropical storm or tornado warning has been issued. 

Exceptions to the new law include doges being restrained in a public camping or recreational areas so long as the owner complies with the requirements of those areas. Dogs in a truck bed will its owner is running errands. Also exempt are dogs being trained, shepherding, herding livestock or in the business of cultivating agricultural products. 

Violates face a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500. Owners that violate the law a second time will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, and could be subject to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2000 or both.