Texas has state-level pet laws and regulations established by local municipalities. A statewide law requires dog owners not to leave their pets tied up and unattended outdoors unless there is adequate shelter, a shaded area and drinking water. The outer tether cannot be a chain, have weights attached to it, and must be at least five times the length of the dog or 10 feet long.
Here is a sampling of local pet ordinances in Texas.
Houston Pet Laws
All Harris County dogs and cats three months and older must be licensed and vaccinated against rabies.
Dogs and cats should be restrained when in public areas.
San Antonio Pet Laws
Your dog must be on a leash when you walk it and you cannot take your dog into driveways and yards on property that is not yours. You cannot allow your dog to defecate on private property that is not yours, and you must remove feces immediately when he is on the public right-of-way.
You cannot transport animals in a motor vehicle unless your pet is securely confined in the vehicle. If the animal is traveling in an open vehicle, such as a convertible or pick-up truck, the animal may be in a container or cage or be confined by a rope or other device that is tied crosswise to prevent the animal from falling or jumping out of the vehicle or choking on one leash.
You cannot leave your pet in a stationary or parked vehicle if it endangers its health or safety.
San Antonio prohibits pet owners from surgically modifying an animal, such as ear cropping, tail docking, and declawing, except when done by a licensed veterinarian.
You can have up to eight cats or five dogs, or a total of eight cats and dogs in your home. If you would like more cats and/or dogs, you will need to apply for an Excess Pet Permit, valid for one year.
Dallas Pet Laws
The City of Dallas limits the number of dogs and/or cats to:
- Up to four total if you live in an apartment, duplex or townhouse
- Up to six total if you live in a single-family home on less than half an acre
- Up to eight total if you live in a single-family home on more than half an acre
These restrictions do not apply to puppies or kittens six months old and younger or feral cats registered in a feral cat colony.
All dogs and cats four months and older must be registered annually. To register your pet, you will need to provide proof of current rabies vaccination.
You must confine your dog at all times, including in a fenced yard, enclosed enclosure, or on a hand-held leash. You cannot tether your dog for more than three hours in a 24 hour period.
You can keep your dog outdoors if they are kept in an area of 150 square feet for each dog six months or older. You must have a structure strong enough to prevent your dog from escaping but provide access to a kennel, shelter or building that protects your dog from the weather.
Pet Laws in Austin
You must restrain your dog except in designated areas, such as an off-leash area (OLA). When your dog is in an OLA, he must be in sight and under voice control at all times. You are required to dispose of animal droppings left on public or private property.
Here are some additional regulations for off-leash areas:
- Only spayed or neutered dogs are allowed in the OLA
- Dogs four months and younger are not permitted in the OLA
- Children six and under are not permitted to enter the OLA
- Aggressive dogs are not allowed in the OLA
- Do not bring your dog’s favorite toys into the OLA to discourage problem behavior
If you are transporting your pet in an open vehicle (such as a convertible), it must be contained in such a way as to prevent it from jumping out of the vehicle or injuring itself.
If you tether your dog on your property, the tether should be attached to a properly fitting collar or harness. The tether cannot weigh more than 1/18 of your dog’s body weight. You cannot wrap a lead directly around your dog’s neck. The restraint cannot be placed in such a way that your dog can become entangled or not have access to shelter and water. You cannot leave your dog tied alone.