EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A big change is coming for the owners of dog left outdoors, one that protects man’s best friend and has some hefty fines and jail time for owners who ignore the law.

The Safe Outdoors Dogs Act will ban the use of use of heavy chains for tethering outside dogs, as well as mandating and defining necessities such as shelter, shade, and water.

Some of the new requirements state that the use of heavy chains to restrain outdoor dogs are prohibited.

Dog owners can instead use humane tethers such as trolley systems and that must have a properly fitting collar or harness. This law also defines that any restraints must allow the animal to always have access to proper shade/shelter and water.

Lauralei Combs from the county animal welfare department said that punishment of pet owners who violate this new law is a last resort. She encourages owners to inform her department if there is no way to keep their dog in a safe environment so that they educate and help them and create a safe place for their pet.

“the best way is to bring your pet in they are domesticated canines they like to be with their family bring them inside and show them the love if you don’t have a fence well help you let us know were here to help you well come in with resources well show you how to contain your animals well also bring in food, anything to help you keep your pet.”

This law comes on the heels of a video posted to Instagram where several dogs were severely injured.
Jillian Langdon who was part of the efforts to save the dogs recounts the events that took place and what she believes this new ruling will do for dogs.

Langdon was on her way to drop off her friend when her and the other occupants in the car saw several dogs injured on the train tracks after it seemed the animals were left by their owner then hit by a passing train. Two dogs died, one was critically injured and one was uninjured.

Everyone in the car had some experience with animal services so they quickly got to work on how they can help the dogs. They were able to get both surviving dogs to safety with help from several other that were there but langdon says the experience was very emotional as a dog owner herself.

“It was pretty sad because it’s not every day you see such a traumatic death happen to four maybe five-month-old puppies, so they were young,” Langdon shares.

The safe outdoor dogs act not only will prohibit chains, but adequate shelter for the dog must be provided according to Interim Director of Animal Services Ramon Herrera.

For Langdon, while she does believe that this law is ultimately a good thing for dogs across the state, there might be downside to how much freedom you allow your dog.

“I mean they have a limited area where they go depending how long said chain is whether it be 25 or 50 feet, but they will have a more free area to roam so it will help but it will also have risks as does everything else.”

Violations of the safe outdoor dogs act will be considered a class c misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Residents who have previously been convicted of the law can face a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

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