East Texas constable speaks on the illegality of chained dogs

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 7:32 AM CDT
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Smith County Precinct four Constable, Josh Joplin says he’s seeing more dogs on chains in his district. Since January of 2022, it became a criminal offense in the state of Texas.

But his precinct isn’t the only area where they find chained dogs. The problem is seen across other East Texas counties.

“But at the end of the day, we need the public’s help. We need the public to understand that this is not a county problem. This is not a city problem. This is a people problem. These animals didn’t get in this position because of themselves. They got here because people put them there.” said Joplin.

According to the Texas health and safety code, an owner cannot leave a dog outside and unattended by use of restraint that is a chain or with weights attached. Certain tethers are allowed but the length of the tether can be an issue.

“The tether has to be at least five times the length of the dog, from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. That’s how much range the dog has to have to run. A lot of the chains we’re seeing these dogs on are four and five feet long.”

The code also states a dog must have adequate shelter in an area avoiding standing water and exposure to excessive animal waste.

Joplin said, “The dog house can’t be smaller than a dog. Obviously the dog has to be able to get inside, has to be able to get out of the weather. And so if they’re going to be on a tether, the dog has to be able to reach the shelter.”

And if caught, Joplin says it is a class C misdemeanor.

“If you do it again, it’s a class B misdemeanor and that’s where we arrest you and take you to jail. You know being on a chain, that’s no life for a dog. And if you’re going to have a dog and that’s where you think it needs to be is on a chain, then in my opinion, you don’t need one.”

If you suspect animal cruelty or neglect, call your local animal control.