AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A new Texas State law aims to better protect man’s best friend.

After it was signed into law in a special session in October of 2021, the “Safe Outdoor Dogs Act” officially went into effect across the state of Texas on Tuesday.

”Just pretty much lays out humane care for the animals here in Amarillo as far as chains. It bans chains and lays out what proper food, shelter and water is for the state of Texas,” said Ty Vernon, Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare Field Services Manager.

In addition to banning chains, the state law requires that there be adequate shelter to protect your dog from inclement weather and have access to food and drinking water.

”The penalty the first time for a first offense is a class c misdemeanor, which is a fine of up to $500 but if it’s a repetition thing and keeps happening then it’s a class b misdemeanor which can result in higher fines,” said Vernon.

Vernon says the new state law is quite similar to the one that’s already on the books here in Amarillo, which is a re-iteration that they’re doing the right thing.

“Chapter 8-26 of the municipal code kind of already laid out what proper food, water and shelter is so it helps throughout the whole state of Texas but as far as the city of Amarillo goes, we’ve already had those laws kind of parallel that, in effect,” said Vernon.

So where could we see the biggest impact?

“Smaller cities that really don’t have ordinances related to animals. It kind of allows them to actually prosecute and issue citations for any kind of violations regarding animals,” said Vernon.

If a dog is seen in distress, the bill removes the 24-hour waiting period that is usually given by animal control or law enforcement to fix a violation so that immediate action can be taken.

For further details outlining the “Safe Outdoor Dogs Act,” click here.