Cold and pets: What Texas law allows

GEORGETOWN (KXAN) – Texas law requires pet owners to make sure their animals have water, shelter and food. Still, that doesn’t mean the law requires bringing them inside.

Rachel Murphy is is adding a new dog to her home from the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter. Murphy says she brings her pets inside in any weather she wouldn’t want to be outside in herself.

That’s more than Texas Law requires. The law allows someone to leave a dog outdoors. That person, however, can not legally leave a dog on a chain, rope, or other tether when it’s below freezing.  The owner must also give the pet food, water and shelter.

“If it’s covered, it’s probably legal,” said Williamson County shelter director Cheryl Schneider. “No, I don’t think the law goes far enough. I think there should be more protection for the animals.”

The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter must adhere to stricter state rules and it has its own standards. Caregivers bring animals in from the cold when it gets below 40.

For now, the staff has moved about 15 dogs indoors.

Schneider says animal control found four dogs on an abandoned property in Round Rock Monday. She says they had ice instead of water. So, they were brought in to the shelter. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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