Officials say "Dog Bill of Rights" being enforced in Corpus Christi

Law bans the use of heavy chains for dogs
Posted at 7:20 AM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-21 11:26:58-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Senate Bill 5, which bans the use of heavy chains to restrain dogs, and requires proper shelter has officially been in effect for over two months.

The law, also known as the "Dog Bill of Rights," went into effect on Jan. 18 and animal advocates said this law is a huge step for the state.

Animal Care Services supervisor Vanessa Scarbrough said on average, the cruelty team is giving out 5-10 warrants a month, depending on how busy they are.

Officials said the team is made up of two animal control officers who deal with the more serious cases involving animal cruelty.

However, animal control field officers are also giving tickets for offenses.

"They're issuing well over 100 citations a month on average," Scarbrough said.

The law also requires pet owners to provide proper shelter for outdoor dogs and owners can no longer use heavy chains to restrain them.

"If the animal is improperly tethered, if it doesn't have microchip, if it doesn't have rabies, anything that's an ordinance, they can issue a violation or they will issue a citation as a means of education,” Scarbrough said.

Any time, there is a call for neglect, the cruelty team will investigate.

Scarbrough said if the dog owner is not compliant, and it calls for more action, the officers will apply for a warrant and build up a case.

"I would say in the past year from day to day, we've had over 200 cases filed," municipal court judge Jackie Chapa said.

Chapa added while she's been in her position, there has also been a city ordinance requiring people to be responsible for their pets and violations are treated like any other court case.

"It can be testimony, it can be witnesses statements. Say they had a neighbor call in or somebody else call in, and they're giving that statement," she said.

Once it ends up in municipal court, a citation for violating the Corpus Christi ordinance means you must appear in court.

"The most of your punishment is a fine of $500 dollars and that would be per animal,” Chapa said.

Judge Chapa says this law is being enforced at court hearings through convictions, paying fees, and probationary periods.

Those convicted can have their case reviewed after they meet those conditions.

Animal Care Services has resources for residents to learn more about animal care and all the laws and ordinances it enforces. For more information, click here.