A Brand New Day for Texas Outdoor Dogs – Texas Humane Network

On October 25, 2021, after the most contentious Texas legislative session in memory, the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act was signed into law. THLN never wavered during the six-year quest to pass this legislation, even when it was targeted by an extremist lawmaker and unexpectedly vetoed.

Texas dogs and the communities where they reside deserve a common-sense, balanced policy governing the restraint of dogs outdoors. The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, which goes into effect January 18, 2022, achieves that by:

  • Defining adequate shelter to protect dogs from extreme temperatures, inclement weather, and standing water. Previously, there was no definition for shelter, thus tethered dogs routinely perished from exposure.
  • Requiring access to drinkable water. Before the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, state law did not include this vital requirement.
  • Requiring safe restraints. The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act strikes the use of chains. Other means of restraint, such as cable tie-outs, may be used so long as they are correctly attached to a collar or harness designed to restrain a dog.

Arguably the most significant change wrought by the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act is removing the 24-hour warning period that allowed bad actors to flout the law. Officers can take immediate action for tethered dogs in distress from now on.

Exceptions to the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act
The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act does not prevent owners from tethering dogs. The law requires that unattended dogs are tethered in a way that keeps them and the people around them safe, and there are several exceptions to the law. The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act does not apply to dogs who are:

  • Attached to a cable-tie out or trolley system.
  • Camping or using other public recreational areas.
  • Herding livestock or assisting with farming tasks.
  • Hunting or participating in field trials.
  • In an open-air truck bed while the owner completes a temporary task.

Restraining Dogs Without Using Chains
The American Veterinary Medical Association and the Center for Disease Control agree that chaining dogs is an inappropriate method of restraint. Not only do chains tangle, rust, and break, but they often cause pain and injury.

Conversely, cable tie-outs and trolley systems are designed to restrain dogs, so they are lightweight, strong, and flexible. On average, they cost between $15-$30 and are easy to find in stores and online. Below are links to highly rated cable tie-outs and trolley systems:

  1. Tumbo Trolley Dog Containment System
  2. Expawlorer Dog Tie Out Cable
  3. Boss Pet Prestige Skyline Trolly
  4. BV Pet Heavy Extra-Large Tie Out Cable
  5. Petest Trolley Runner Cable
  6. XiaZ Dog Runner Tie Out Cable

Watch this short video to see examples of cable tie-outs recommended by a company that rates affordable pet products. Always install cable tie-outs and trolley systems according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Read FAQ.

Voluntary Water Restrictions in Place

The City of Houston and the Central Harris County Regional Water Authority (CHCRWA) have both implemented Stage 1 of their respective Drought Contingency Plans. As a customer of the CHCRWA, Harris County MUD 150 is required to implement Stage 1 of its Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) immediately.

Voluntary Water Use Restrictions Applicable to Customers. Customers are requested to voluntarily limit the irrigation of landscaped and other areas, and to irrigate said areas only between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on the following days as follows:

  • Customers with even numbered addresses and those responsible for watering common areas such as esplanades, parks and sports fields should limit irrigation to Even Numbered Dates
  • Customers with odd numbered addresses should limit irrigation to Odd Numbered Dates

Additionally, customers are requested to practice water conservation and to minimize or discontinue non-essential water uses such as vehicle washing, power washing or spraying down surfaces (other than for fire protection), gutter flushing, and refilling swimming pools, hot tubs or aesthetic fountains (except those that support aquatic life).  Customers are also encouraged to take action to repair any known water leaks.

July Wrap Up

Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez

We kicked off July with celebrations throughout Harris County!

Teammates and residents enjoyed 4th of July Parades in communities like Kingwood and Lindale Park, providing a chance to celebrate independence and unity.

As we look back on a great month, we look forward to a new Back to School Season ahead.

You’ve Been Promoted!

We are very proud of the dedicated team members in our Detentions Team who promoted in July.

These individuals have worked hard to improve their knowledge and skills, and promote within the Detentions Profession.

We are so proud of our Detention Officers and the outstanding work they do.

National Tattoo Day

Our agency is nothing without our outstanding and diverse teammates.

Our Tattoo policy reflects such appreciation, making National Tattoo Day a fun celebration.

Tip-A-Cop for a Cause

This annual fundraiser was held at two great locations across Harris County. HCSO Teammates partnered with Texas Roadhouse and Law Enforcement Torch Run to raise funds for Special Olympics Texas athletes.

The funds raised from these events go directly to Special Olympics Texas, a year-round movement that provides sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Safety Resources

As summer is coming into its last month, remember these key safety tips and resources.

Click the links below for more information.

Look Before You Lock

Water Safety Tips

Roadside Assistance in Harris County: MAP Units, Call 713-CALL-MAP (713-225-5627)

In the Community

Give your kids a safe place to learn and enjoy the last bit of summer!

Our HCSO PAL Program is great way to get involved with activities ranging from baseball to movie events.

It’s time for Kickball! You are invited to attend the Harris County Sheriff’s Office vs Starbucks Kickball Match on August 31st at Bayland Park.

This is a free event, come out and cheer us on. All attendees will get a chance to be entered into a raffle for a Starbucks Gift Basket benefiting the HCSO PAL program.

If your neighborhood is not registered for this year’s National Night Out, the registration deadline is September 16th, 2022. Please visit this link to download the registration form.

June Wrap Up

Message from Sheriff Ed Gonzalez

As June is upon us, so is the official start of summer. We have many things to celebrate this month as an agency and individuals.

Recognitions like Pride Month, Juneteenth and Flag Day are all opportunities to bring unity and fellowship to our community. Together, we are always stronger.

We must also recognize the sorrows and tragedies that occurred in our nation this month. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of those lost in Uvalde.

June Celebrations

As an agency, we celebrated multiple occasions this month.

Notably, this included Pride Month and Juneteenth.

Through parades and community events, ours teams enjoyed meeting all the new faces and familiar smiles.

Father’s Day, Flag Day, Women’s Veterans Day and the US Army Birthday were also among the celebrations.

End of Watch: Ride to Remember

Members of the National End of Watch Ride, came through Harris County to honor our four teammates lost in the Line of Duty during 2021.

Families and teammates of these heroes, gathered at our Training Academy to receive the riders in a moment of remembrance.

Recidivism Reduction Initiatives

We have multiple programs throughout our detention centers designed to reduce the chances of seeing an inmate in our system after they are released.

This month, we had graduates complete their In2Work program.

In partnership with Houston ISD’d Community Service School, one young woman earned her high school diploma. She wants to become a nurse one day and help others.

Programs like these are vital in preparing the men and women in our detention centers to return to life in the community.