Animal Tethering Laws

The Texas Legislature passed a law in 2007 about how and when pets can be restrained using chains, tethers, or other tie-outs. The rules were adopted at both the state and city level to protect both the pet and human populations.

Animals that are regularly “tied out” using chains or tethers tend to become more aggressive, especially when tied to a fixed point, such as a tree or porch. This makes them potentially dangerous to people and other animals in the community, so the legislature have put strict limits on use of such restraints as a means to secure animals.

Whether the animal is tethered to a fixed point or to a pulley:

  • It cannot be “tied out” for more than three (3) hours within a 24-hour period.
  • The chain or tether must be attached to a properly fitted collar. The chain or tether cannot be wrapped directly around the animal’s neck.
  • A restrained animal must have access to water and shelter from the elements, have a restraint that does not become entangled, and stay within the owner’s property at all times.

An owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint:

  • Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Within 500 feet of the premises of a school.
  • In the case of extreme weather conditions, including when:
    1. The outdoor temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit
    2. A heat advisory has been issued by state or local authorities
    3. A hurricane, tropical storm or tornado warning has been issued for the area by the National Weather Service.

The law also specifies that an owner may not leave an animal outside and unattended by use of a restraint that “unreasonably limits the animal’s movement.”

A restraint “unreasonably limits an animal’s movement” if it:

  • Uses a collar that is a pinch, prong, or choke-type and is not properly fitted to the animal.
  • Is shorter than either 10 feet or five times the length of the animal (from nose to tip of tail), whichever is longer
  • Is in an unsafe condition
  • Causes injury to the animal

There are exceptions to some of these limitations on tethering if the animal is restrained using a running line, pulley, or trolley system. Information on these exceptions is available. Questions about the new tethering laws should be directed to the Ingleside Animal Shelter at 361-776-2531.