Police in Montgomery County, Texas, are asking residents to unchain their dogs ahead of Hurricane Harvey and are threatening legal action against those who do not.
“I promise you, that I will hold anyone accountable that unlawfully restrains they’re [sic] dog in extreme weather conditions,” warned Chief Stephen Carlisle of the Roman Forest Police Department in a Facebook post.
The post says that Carlisle was told about a dog tied to a tree while checking water levels on a secondary highway in the county last year.
State transportation crews were shutting down the San Jacinto East Fork Bridge and told him the dog was out of reach as water levels increased.
“The dog barked and barked as the water kept rising until the water got high enough and the barks stopped,” reads the post.
Carlisle implored people not to keep their pets on a rope or chain.
The post also warned it was illegal to leave a dog on a rope continuously.
“It is against the law to keep a dog on a chain during extreme weather conditions or between 10 p.m. – 6 a.m.,” said the post.
That law prohibits a dog owner from leaving their animal outside and unattended “by use of a restraint that unreasonably limits the dog’s movement” under several additional conditions, including close proximity to a school, during a heat advisory, or if a tornado warning has been issued.
Meanwhile, the SPCA of Texas is working with shelters across the Gulf Coast to evacuate 120 cats from The Cattery Cat Shelter in Corpus Christi, which is predicted to be one of the hardest hit areas.
The SPCA is on standby to help others who may struggle finding shelter for their pets as the storm arrives.
“We stand at the ready to take in 300 pets and will do all in our power to help pets and people affected by this dangerous storm and its aftermath. We send our thoughts to all in the region and hope everyone stays safe,” reads a post on the SPCA’s Facebook page.
The SPCA is calling for support to deal with the disaster response efforts. That support can include money or an in-kind donation of cat litter, treats, or other items.