EL PASO, Texas (KTRK) – When we accept pets into our homes, they become part of our families. We look after their every need, provide shelter, and adore them. That is true for the majority of pet-owning households, but not all. Specific legislation has been enacted in El Paso to protect animals from maltreatment.
Various laws specify the regulations that describe animal treatment in the City of El Paso Code of Ordinance book's chapter 'Animals Generally' and part 'Standards for Animal Care.'
The City Council debated Tuesday whether or not existing restrictions prohibiting people from leaving their dogs outside during excessive heat, cold, or severe weather should be relaxed. The City of El Paso believes the following to be illegal under existing rules:
An owner may not leave a dog outside unsupervised by using a constraint that restricts the dog's movement in an unreasonable way:
- Between the hours of ten p.m. and six a.m.;
- Within five hundred feet of the premises of a school; or
- In the case of extreme weather conditions, including conditions in which:
- The actual or effective outdoor temperature is below thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit;
- A heat advisory has been issued by the National Weather Service, or a local or state authority, including the City of El Paso; or
- A tornado warning has been issued for the City or County of El Paso by the National Weather Service.
For first-time offenders, punishments vary from Class C misdemeanors with fines up to $500 to Class B misdemeanors with fines up to $2,000 or 180 days in prison.
In October 2021, Texas approved the Safe Outdoors Act, which alters restrictions, and El Paso intends to harmonize its laws with those of the state. The following are some of the new regulations:
- A ban of chain tethers and weights around the neck of dogs, and instead the use of a properly fitted collar, as well as a long enough leash to allow them to move around.
- Giving dogs access to an adequate shelter that will protect them from extreme weather such as cold, hot or severe weather events.
- The shelter must be big enough for them to be able to sit, stand, lie down and move freely
- Dogs should have outdoor access to clean drinking water.