HSC § 821.101-104

Sec. 821.101. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1)  “Adequate shelter” means a sturdy structure:

(A)  that provides the dog protection from inclement weather; and

(B)  with dimensions that allow the dog while in the shelter to stand erect, sit, turn around, and lie down in a normal position.

(2)  “Collar” means a band of material specifically designed to be placed around the neck of a dog.

(3)  “Harness” means a set of straps constructed of nylon, leather, or similar material, specifically designed to restrain or control a dog.

(4)  “Inclement weather” includes rain, hail, sleet, snow, high winds, extreme low temperatures, or extreme high temperatures.

(5)  “Owner” means a person who owns or has custody or control of a dog.

(6)  “Properly fitted” means, with respect to a collar or harness, a collar or harness that:

(A)  is appropriately sized for the dog based on the dog’s measurements and body weight;

(B)  does not choke the dog or impede the dog’s normal breathing or swallowing; and

(C)  does not cause pain or injury to the dog.

(7)  “Restraint” means a chain, rope, tether, leash, cable, or other device that attaches a dog to a stationary object or trolley system.


(a) An owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint unless the owner provides the dog access to:

(1)  adequate shelter;

(2)  an area that allows the dog to avoid standing water and exposure to excessive animal waste;

(3)  shade from direct sunlight; and

(4)  potable water.

(b)  An owner may not restrain a dog outside and unattended by use of a restraint that:

(1)  is a chain;

(2)  has weights attached;

(3)  is shorter in length than the greater of:

(A)  five times the length of the dog, as measured from the tip of the dog’s nose to the base of the dog’s tail; or

(B)  10 feet; or

(4)  is attached to a collar or harness not properly fitted.

(c)  A person commits an offense if the person knowingly violates this section. The restraint of each dog that is in violation is a separate offense.

(d)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class B misdemeanor if the person has previously been convicted under this section.

(e)  If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.

Sec. 821.103. EXCEPTIONS.

(a) Section 821.102 does not apply to:

(1)  the use of a restraint on a dog in a public camping or recreational area in compliance with the requirements of the public camping or recreational area as defined by a federal, state, or local authority or jurisdiction;

(2)  the use of a restraint on a dog while the owner and dog engage in, or actively train for, an activity conducted under a valid license issued by this state provided the activity is associated with the use or presence of a dog;

(3)  the use of a restraint on a dog while the owner and dog engage in conduct directly related to the business of shepherding or herding cattle or livestock;

(4)  the use of a restraint on a dog while the owner and dog engage in conduct directly related to the business of cultivating agricultural products;

(5)  a dog left unattended in an open-air truck bed only for the time reasonably necessary for the owner to complete a temporary task that requires the dog to be left unattended in the truck bed;

(6)  a dog taken by the owner, or another person with the owner’s permission, from the owner’s residence or property and restrained by the owner or the person for not longer than the time necessary for the owner to engage in an activity that requires the dog to be temporarily restrained; or

(7)  a dog restrained while the owner and dog are engaged in, or actively training for, hunting or field trialing.

(b)  Section 821.102(b)(3) does not apply to a restraint attached to a trolley system that allows a dog to move along a running line for a distance equal to or greater than the lengths specified under that subdivision.

(c)  This subchapter does not prohibit a person from walking a dog with a handheld leash.


This subchapter does not preempt a local regulation relating to the restraint of a dog or affect the authority of a political subdivision to adopt or enforce an ordinance or requirement relating to the restraint of a dog if the regulation, ordinance, or requirement:

(1)  is compatible with and equal to or more stringent than a requirement prescribed by this subchapter; or

(2)  relates to an issue not specifically addressed by this subchapter.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind