AUSTIN, Texas (KHOU)- Texas lawmakers are debating bill that would make it illegal to leave a dog tied up on a chain or with heavy weights.
Dog owners would still be able to leave their dogs restrained, but the animals would be required to have access to shelter, water and have room to move.
The law mandates that the leash or line connected to the dog must be five times as long as the animal itself.
House Bill 1156, sponsored by State Rep. Sarah Davis of Harris County, is currently being considered in the House Public Health Committee.
Barrio Dogs of Houston founder Gloria Zenteno supports the bill because she says metal chains can harm or injure dogs.
"It is very uncomfortable on the dog's neck," said Zenteno, who supports the bill. "They become aggressive, tend to become agitated and bark all day."
Leaving a dog without water or shelter is already against state law and most county ordinances, but supporters say HB 1156 gives animal control officers more enforcement power.
It makes violations a Class C misdemeanor, which means offending pet owners could be slapped with a $500 fine.
Opponents say the law is unnecessary and could punish lawful pet owners and hunters.
"When you try to do a one-sized-all approach that makes it easy to write a violation, you are going to catch people up who are behaving good and treating their dogs well," said Rob Sexton with the Sportsmen’s Alliance.
The bill contains exceptions for dogs that are kept at campsites, animals used in agriculture or if a dog is being trained.