CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Dog Bill of Rights is a new law going into effect today across Texas.
But it's not new in Corpus Christi because a city ordinance has already been in place to protect dogs from this type of restraint.
But, local animal advocates say, this is a huge step for the state as a whole.
“I had to call them and tell them and tell them, it’s going to be below 32 degrees," dog owner Linda Gibeaut said. "Your dogs can die, I mean that’s the bottom line.”
Gibeaut fosters animals in need and says she is always looking out for our canine friends.
She says she’s fostered more than 100 puppies in the last five years including some that have been neglected.
“They're terrible on a leash,"Gibeaut said. "They lunge and that’s a longer process for the animal because you have to basically put them through therapy.”
Senate Bill 5 means no more heavy chains to restrain dogs.
Dog collars must be made of material designed to be placed around the neck of a dog and restraints must be no shorter than five times the dogs length and are, “appropriately sized for the dog based on the dog's measurements and body weight.”
The law also says dogs must have shelter from weather like rain, hail, sleet snow, high winds, extreme low temperatures or extreme heat.
“They need have to have access to food and water because you want a healthy animal," Gibeaut said. "A healthy animal is a happy animal."
The law says violations would be a Class C misdemeanor for the first offense.
“You can also file a report if you see a dog chained to a tree or a post or any case of animal neglect,” said Jackie McCollough, marketing director for the Gulf Coast Humane Society.
In 2015, the Texas Humane Legislation Network says it found no prosecutions had been made under the law during the previous two years.
But now, as this law reaches the rural communities in Texas, advocates say there is hope that can change.
“When you’re issued a citation you have to go to court which is where they’ll issue you a fine," McCollough said.
"I was told that can be anywhere from $200-$500."
The Gulf Coast Humane Society recommends if you do have a dog outside, ditch any harsh restraints and instead get a dog trolley, which is a device that allows a dog to run from side to side and back and forward.