It's been super cold in Lubbock for the past few weeks. This morning, it was only 19 degrees when I drove into work. Not fun. I was reminded of all of the animals that are outdoors. I've seen several chained up in yards, shivering in the snow.

Is it actually legal to leave your dog outside in Texas when it's cold?

The short answer is, no.

Under Texas law, it is absolutely illegal to leave your pets and livestock outside in the cold without proper shelter. What's more, is that this rule does not only apply to cold weather, but it also applies directly to extreme heat advisories, tornado warnings, hurricanes, and tropical storms, as well.

Just because they are animals doesn't mean they don't get cold. It always baffles me that people seem to believe that a coat of fur translates to "nice and toasty". It does not. If you are unable to bring them into your home or let them stay in your garage or build them a small shelter with a heating lamp, then you should not be a pet owner. Period.

Guys, we have to do better for our animal friends. It is insanely cold outside right now, and if you don't have adequate housing for your pets in this weather, then you should reconsider owning any at all. It is literally illegal to leave your dog outside without proper shelter during extreme temperatures like the ones we have seen over the past few weeks. It's even punishable by a fine of up to $500 for first-time offenders, and up to $2000 if you've been caught in the past. If you come across a dog stuck outside, chained to a tree, or simply freezing in the snow, please contact your local authorities and report it.

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