A bipartisan bill in Texas meant to protect dogs from abuse easily passed the state House and Senate with backing from law enforcement, animal control officers, and animals rights activists before landing on the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott—who then vetoed it. Friday's surprise move spawned the trending hashtag #AbbottHatesDogs and a wave of criticism directed at the Republican governor, who claimed state statutes already protect against animal cruelty, per the Guardian. The Safe Outdoor Dogs Act would've made it illegal to restrain dogs on short leashes and heavy chains, or with other restraints that might cause pain or injury to the animal, and without drinking water and adequate shade or shelter, with proposed penalties of $500 to $2,000 in fines and up to six months in jail. In his veto, Abbott said this amounted to "micro-managing and over-criminalization."
He said dog owners would be forced to monitor how much time a dog spends in a truck bed, for example. The governor—who owns two golden retrievers, one of which has a Twitter account—added: "Texans love their dogs, so it is no surprise that our statutes already protect them by outlawing true animal cruelty." But Shelby Bobosky, executive director of the Texas Humane Legislation Network, says the bill would've "clarified the vague language that makes the statute completely unenforceable," per the Guardian. "The bill had a lot of favorable things to help us enforce the law in which people weren't properly taking care of their pets," adds Brian Hawthorne, the sheriff of Chambers County and legislative chair of the Sheriffs' Association of Texas, per the Houston Chronicle. Abbott vetoed 20 bills in all on Friday, reports the Texas Tribune. Another would've required students to learn about child abuse prevention and domestic violence. (Read more Greg Abbott stories.)