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Late Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation announcing that he will convene the third special legislative session of 2021 on Monday, September 20, at 10AM.  His proclamation identifies five agenda items, including, “Legislation similar to Senate Bill 474 as passed by the 87th Legislature, Regular Session, but that addresses the concerns expressed in the governor’s veto statement.”

History of 2021 Texas SB 474 – Tethering Legislation

During the 2021 regular legislative session, Senate Bill 474 sought to amend the state’s dog tethering law, by limiting the conditions under which a dog could be tethered and by providing a number of exceptions to the proposed limits.  Click here to read full details on SB 474. The Senate passed SB 474 as introduced on April 21.  AKC took no formal position on SB 474 as introduced.

The Texas House of Representatives subsequently amended SB 474 before it approved the bill on May 14.  The Senate concurred in the House’s amendments before the bill was sent to Governor Abbott for executive action.  Again, AKC took no formal position on SB 474 as amended.

On June 18, after the regular session had adjourned, Governor Abbott vetoed SB 474, saying that Texas statutes already protected animals by outlawing true animal cruelty.  Media subsequently reported that the Governor received a significant amount of negative response to his veto of SB 474.

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, the Governor called two special legislative sessions to convene.  The first special session, which was convened on July 8, saw the filing of House Bill 163.  Despite the subject not being listed as an agenda item in the Governor’s proclamation calling for the special session, the bill sought to address tethering  in much the same way as SB 474 would have.  The bill was not considered during the first special session, which adjourned on August 6.

The second special session was convened on August 7.  Governor Abbott’s proclamation identified 17 agenda items for the legislature to consider, none of which involved dog-related issues.  Nevertheless, House Bill 17 and Senate Bill 78, relating to the tethering of dogs, were filed.  Neither bill was considered before the special session adjourned on September 2.

Next Steps

AKC Government Relations (GR) will provide updates on the third legislative session, including analysis of and calls to action for tethering, and any other dog-related legislation, that may be filed.  If you aren’t already receiving AKC GR legislative alerts, you may sign up to receive them on the AKC GR Legislative Action Center webpage.

For more information, contact AKC GR at