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Proposed bill would criminalize leaving dogs chained

It could soon be a crime to leave a dog chained in Texas. (CBS Austin)

It could soon be a crime to leave a dog chained in Texas. Tuesday the House Committee on Public Health took up a bill that would set strict guidelines for how a dog can be restrained. It includes some exceptions for things like camping, training and agriculture.

Erin Van Landingham is one of many animal rights advocates who went to the State Capitol to show their support for HB 1156.

She and her husband have five foster and rescue dogs, and she says she can't imagine if they had to spend the day tied up.

"It's inhumane. Thousands of dogs in Texas are tethered in backyards, regardless of weather conditions," Erin says.

Mark Sloat with the Austin Animal Center has seen the worst of it. He says his team gets several calls regarding tethered dogs each week, and sometime there are multiple calls in a day.

"The animals have come in with terrible injuries to the neck," says Sloat.

He says the number one danger was evident in his most recent case.

"That dog was hanging off a 6-foot privacy fence," he says.

Other concerns are lack of water, shelter and protection from predators.

"Quite often, those dogs aren't given the attention that a normal family pet would be given, because they're kind of out of sight, out of mind," Sloat says.

Austin does have its own tethering ban. The city also has a donation-driven fencing program to help families keep their pets in.

"You don't have to have your dog tethered. That's not an option," says Erin.

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