CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texans will now face harsher penalties for unlawfully tying up their dogs outside.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 5, the "Safe Outdoor Dogs Act," in October 2021, which will enforce penalties for stationary tethering. The law is intended to prevent unintended harm of animals bound to stationary objects. Corpus Christi has had ordinances in effect to prevent this for years, but the state law is expected to bring renewed attention to the issue.
“Always passing enhanced or improved laws should be a deterrent and should improve the quality of life for the animals,” said Joel Skidmore, program manager for Corpus Christi Animal Care Services (CCACS). “Now that does not always happen, that’s why we’re here.”
One of the main concerns of stationary tethering is strangulation. If a dog were to jump over a fence, for example, the leash can get caught and cause injury or death. CCACS field supervisor Venessa Scarbrough recommends either a fenced yard or a trolley system that allows for safer movement.
“We do have issues with strangulation.” Scarbrough said. “They jump a fence, they’re unable to move back and forth, it’s more restrictive being tied to a stationary point. So being on a trolley just gives them a little more freedom to move back and forth and they’re less likely to get entangled.”
Corpus Christi Mayor Paulette Guajardo has been an advocate against animal cruelty throughout her tenure. As a common topic among the community, pet safety is one of the main issues always addressed by her office. She is happy to see the rest of the state following on the ordinances she’s passed over the years.
“I’m very happy that the state has taken these steps because it reinforces what the city’s already done,” Guajardo said. “And it also places a huge emphasis on the fact that animals must be treated in a better manner. So all of those things are essential to caring for our little family members with four legs.”
The new law goes into effect Jan. 18, 2022. Owners are required to follow the guidelines of the state and city to avoid having their pet taken and potential animal cruelty charges.
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