Safe Outdoor Dogs Legislation Passes 7-2 Out of House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee

dog on patio

HB 873 would clarify existing law and establish basic standards of shelter and care for dogs restrained outdoors.

Austin, Texas – Yesterday, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee passed HB 873 by Chair Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth) on a vote of 7 to 2. A top legislative priority for the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), HB 873 would establish basic standards of shelter and care for dogs left outdoors, and provide much-needed clarification to existing law to promote the safety of animals and the people around them.

“Yesterday’s vote is a critical step toward protecting outdoor dogs, improving public safety, and still respecting the freedoms of Texas dog owners,” said Shelby Bobosky, Executive Director of THLN. “We are grateful to the members of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee for their support on this important legislative issue.”

The legislation also ensures dogs have access to drinkable water and can move around without being trapped in standing water or any other dangerous substance. Along with preventing exposure to extreme weather, the legislation strikes the 24-hour waiting period in the current statute. This will allow law enforcement to address critical situations immediately, before tragedy strikes.

The bill also includes key exemptions to respect the choices of dog owners and the variety of ways in which dogs accompany Texans outdoors. Exemptions include dogs restrained in public places like parks and campgrounds, those used for farming, field trialing, and hunting tasks, dogs restrained on a trolley system, and those temporarily unattended in an open-air truck bed.

“We thank Chair Collier for her leadership on the Safe Outdoor Dogs bill and we look forward to seeing it move through the legislative process, where we already seeing strong, bipartisan support,” finished Bobosky.

The bill will now be considered by the Calendars Committee before it would move to a vote on the House floor and ultimately over to the Senate.