By\u00a0James Pollard\r\nTexas law requires people to provide their dogs with adequate shelter from extreme weather. But when the Texas Humane Legislation Network in 2015 asked about 1,000 cities for a list of prosecutions under the law from the previous two years, not a single ticket got returned, according to executive director Shelby Bobosky.\r\nAnimal advocates\u00a0say\u00a0the lack of enforcement is the result of the flawed existing statute, which requires owners be given a 24 hours\u2019 notice to correct any illegal treatment.\r\nFor the past six years, the nonprofit, which lobbies in support of animal rights, has pushed for legislation that would allow for more strict enforcement of the laws governing the proper tethering of dogs. The group thought it had succeeded in May when the Legislature approved such a measure. But Gov.\u00a0Greg Abbott\u00a0shocked many by vetoing the bill soon after.\r\nThis month, with the issue back on the governor\u2019s agenda, lawmakers are pressing forward in hopes of achieving the goal once again. There\u2019s little difference between Senate Bill 5, the\u00a0bill\u00a0introduced during the third special session, and the one Abbott\u00a0vetoed\u00a0in June. The new proposal, like its predecessor, would amend the health and safety code to make the unlawful restraint of a dog a criminal offense \u2014 and more clearly outline proper treatment.\r\nIn\u00a0vetoing the original bill, Abbott said existing state laws already protected dogs by outlawing animal cruelty. Texas, he said at the time, is no place for \u201cmicro-managing\u201d and \u201cover-criminalization.\u201d\r\nThe original bill \u201cwould compel every dog owner, on pain of criminal penalties, to monitor things like the tailoring of the dog\u2019s collar, the time the dog spends in the bed of a truck, and the ratio of tether-to-dog length, as measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail,\u201d Abbott said in his statement. The governor\u2019s office did not respond to a request for comment for this story.\r\nThe Texas Humane Legislation Network was \u201cshocked and disappointed\u201d by the veto, Bobosky said, noting the bill\u2019s bipartisan support. She added that the group owes the issue\u2019s return this session to the Texans and legislators who voiced their opposition to the governor\u2019s move. The new version has already passed in the Senate and will be considered in a hearing in the House on Tuesday.\r\n\u201cIf there was no outcry \u2026 it would still be something that we\u2019d be planning on working on next legislative session,\u201d said Jamey Cantrell, president of the Texas Animal Control Association. \u201cBut collectively, the Texans that did come through and make their voices heard, they\u2019re the ones who are really responsible for where we\u2019re at right now.\u201d\r\nWhile Abbott previously said existing animal cruelty laws were sufficient, Cantrell emphasized that the current law regarding tethers is unenforceable.\r\nThe bill\u2019s author, state Sen.\u00a0Eddie Lucio\u00a0Jr., D-Brownsville, said the changes were \u201cminor\u201d accommodations to the veto that \u201cclean up the statute.\u201d\r\n\u201cI\u2019m just pleased that we were able to move the bill forward,\u201d said Lucio, who has seven dogs. \u201cI hope that this will give a lot of dogs a new way of life.\u201d\r\nBoth versions ban the use of chains or heavy weights to restrain dogs. They both require that tethered dogs have access to shelter from certain weather. They both require that collars be made of \u201cmaterial specifically designed to be placed around the neck of a dog.\u201d And both allow exceptions for activities like herding, shepherding, agricultural work, and hunting.\r\nBut the new bill uses different language in certain sections, changes made \u201cin coordination with the governor\u2019s office\u201d that \u201cdo not affect the purpose of the bill,\u201d Bobosky said.\r\nThe new bill declines to specify which materials must make up the dog collar. It says shelters must protect dogs from \u201cinclement weather,\u201d which includes \u201crain, hail, sleet, snow, high winds, extreme low temperatures, or extreme high temperatures.\u201d And it adds the word \u201creasonably\u201d when describing the amount of time a dog could be left unattended in an open-air truck bed.\r\nWhile the changes loosen the language around the collar\u2019s tailoring and time spent in a truck bed, the new bill still requires the restraint be no shorter than five times the length of the dog.\r\nThe Texas Animal Control Association has been lobbying for this bill for several sessions, Cantrell said. He\u2019s seen its ideas work in Plano, where he serves as the animal services manager. Before the city outlawed the use of tethers as permanent restraint, he said the issue arose \u201call the time,\u201d with ill-fitting collars and heavy chains sometimes cutting into dogs\u2019 skin.\r\nSince 2014, the Texas Humane Legislation Network has heard from police officers, sheltering professionals, and animal advocates \u2014 all saying the law needs fixing. After all that time, Bobosky said, the group is \u201ccautiously optimistic\u201d the bill will become law.\r\n\u201cWe need to have some basic standards in place for dogs who permanently live outside, Bobosky said. \u201cAs we saw with the February storm, many dogs perished \u2014 which was totally unnecessary \u2014 because there is no definition of adequate shelter.\u201d\r\nThis story originally published by the Texas Tribune.