Quick Summary: You are invited to attend THLN's 7th Annual Animal Advocacy Conference & Break the Chain Gala at the Omni Mandalay Bay featuring workshops, exhibits, exquisite dining and entertainment, awards, live and silent auctions and more!
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Sometimes, during a legislative session, helping get bad bills killed is just as important as getting good bills passed. The 84th Session of the Texas Legislature was such a session.
House Bill 593, sponsored by Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth and introduced by THLN, was a solid "win" for both peace officers and animals they encounter in the line-of-duty. "HB593 better informs Texas peace officers on how to avoid and defend themselves against a canine attack as well as protect the life and safety of the family pet." According to representative Collier.
The bill requires mandatory canine encounter training for incoming Texas peace officers as well as those who seek advancement. For the past eighteen months, THLN has worked in association with law enforcement agencies as well as dog shooting victims' families in order to significantly reduce the number of fatalities for our four-legged family members. Shelby Bobosky, THLN Vice-President and Legislative Co-Chair states, "In 2014, over 200 dogs were shot by law enforcement in Texas. This is a common sense bill to help prepare Texas peace officers for a safe and non-confrontational outcome." The bill passed with little opposition.
Equally important were two bad bills for exotic animals that were killed by the Texas Humane Legislation Network. The first, Senate Bill 987, was brought to exempt "Zoological Association of America" (ZAA) members from the Texas Dangerous Wild Animal Registration Act. Cile Holloway, President of THLN, states, "By killing this bill, Texas will not become a breeding ground for roadside zoos and exotic breeders." The second, House Bill 2139, would have granted a special tax break to the Dallas World Aquarium. In particular, the owner was seeking a tax write off for the cost of trapping, transporting, and maintaining exotic animals.
Unfortunately, House Bill 2562, also known as the Humane Tethering Bill, died in the House among many other bills. It would have greatly improved the lives of tethered dogs and those dogs who live outside without access to food, water and shelter. The bill's sponsor, Representative Kenneth Sheets (R-Dallas) had bipartisan support with more than 40 co-sponsors, and THLN plans to bring this bill back next session in 2017.
Click here to view the full "End of Session" report.
THLN has drafted a bill it will lobby to pass into law in the 2015 Texas lawmaking session. The bill will ban tethering of dogs via heavy chains. It will also require that dogs have proper (and dry) shelter, easy access to food and water, a minimum tether length, a properly-fitted and comfortable collar, and swiveling tether hinges on each end of the tether to prevent entanglement. Lastly, the bill will grant law enforcement and animal control officers the ability to issue citations, fines, and ultimately remove the animal if the infractions are not corrected.