March 3, 2009

Abused animals face a new threat in Texas. A piece of legislation has been introduced that is terrible for animals, expensive for taxpayers, and crippling to law enforcement officials’ ability to protect and serve people and animals.

If it becomes law, HB 1046 will make the seizure and disposition of cruelly treated animals much more difficult and expensive. Many small towns and lesser populated counties—often the very places where puppy mills are located—simply will not have the resources to pursue cruelty cases.

Under the current law, when law enforcement officers seize cruelly treated animals, the trial to determine whether or not the owner will be divested of ownership is held within 10 days and the decision of that court is final and cannot be appealed. HB 1046 will change that and allow the owner to appeal the decision, forcing city and county attorneys to try the same case twice. This will be very costly to cities and counties and force rescued animals—who are almost always malnourished, suffering, and sick—to sit in cages indefinitely, unable to be adopted or relieved of their suffering until a years-long appeal process winds its way through the courts.

The bill would also affect fought dogs, who are almost always seized in high numbers, are dangerous to other animals, and take up space that potentially adoptable animals would otherwise have for a chance to find a home. Passage of HB 1046 could mean that such dogs will be left to suffer at the dogfighters’ hands, since localities that lack the resources to hold them won’t seize them.

Today, please call, write, fax, or—as a last resort—e-mail the members of the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee and ask them to vote “No!” on sending this bill to the full House. Click here to find each member’s contact info….


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