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In Texas it is a Class A misdemeanor to "abandon unreasonably an animal in the person's custody". (See Sections 42.09 and 42.092 of the Texas Penal Code at http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/PE/htm/PE.42.htm). This crime is punishable by one year in jail. There can also be a fine up to $4,000. You need to contact the local law enforcement agency (city: police dept. or county: the sheriff's office) immediately, in addition to the local humane organization.
In counties with populations of 1.3 million or more (Harris, Dallas, Bexar, and Tarrant) the commissioners court is authorized by state law to regulate the sale of animals on a public highway or road, in the right-of-way of a public highway or road or in a parking lot in the unincorporated area of the county.
Also, some cities in Texas have municipal ordinances in place that prohibit such sales. If you see a roadside puppy or kitten sale in a city where it is prohibited, we encourage you to get the specific language (and number) of the ordinance, call the police and cite the ordinance to them (police officers are not always aware of their city's specific animal ordinances). Give them the address or location of where the sale is taking place. Sometime the response is slow and it's best to wait at the scene until the police arrive. If they don't show up within 15 minutes after the first call, repeat the call and stay there until they arrive. If local authorities ignore the violation, you might take photographs of the sale from a safe distance. (Never risk putting yourself or anyone else in harm's way through personal confrontations. Let the authorities deal with the offenders.)
Live animal sales often take place on parking lots of department stores and shopping centers. When this is the case, contact the manager of the shopping center and request that the management stop allowing this to occur on their property. When talking to managers, you should point out that these puppies and kittens often are very sick and could have contagious diseases, which could expose the landlord to liability. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.
We also suggest that you write a polite letter to the editor of the local newspaper citing the reasons why people should not purchase animals from roadside sales or advertisements and encourage them to adopt companion animals from local shelters and rescue groups. State that more than 700,000 dogs and cats are euthanized in Texas animal shelters every year and thousands more are abandoned to die on the streets and highways. Mention how important it is that everyone spay or neuter their pets. If you know of a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in your area, mention that in your letter as well.
Unfortunately, there are no state laws in Texas that prohibit transporting a dog or, for that matter, any other animal in the back of a pickup truck. Our organization has attempted to pass legislation prohibiting this, but it proved unsuccessful. You might have some luck at the local level, depending on your county or municipality. Some cities have passed prohibitions against transporting animals in the back of a pickup truck and perhaps some counties have done so. We agree that it is a tragedy that we have no laws to prohibit this, but the fact is we don't.
Q: Is there any civil or criminal recourse available against a person who has repeatedly shot your pets? Conditions: Neighbor shot cat/dog on his property outside city limits; however, the neighbor knew who the animal belonged to.
In Texas it is a state jail felony to kill a cat or dog belonging to another person. (See Section 42.092 of the Penal Code at http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/PE/htm/PE.42.htm). However, it is a defense to prosecution if the cat or dog was "injuring or killing the person's livestock or damaging the person's crops". You should call the sheriff and report this crime. Unfortunately many law enforcement agencies are not willing to enforce this law, especially when the crime occurred on the killer's property. They often mistakenly believe that a person has the right to kill any animal on his property for any reason. Regrettably there is nothing a citizen can do when a sheriff or other law enforcement agency will not enforce the law. There is no lawsuit that can be filed to force the sheriff to enforce the law. All you can do in that situation is be the squeaky wheel and complain about the sheriff to the county commissioners, newspaper, t.v. stations, etc. You may be able to prevail in a civil lawsuit against your neighbor. The main problem with a civil lawsuit is that, under current Texas law, if you win your lawsuit you will only be able to recover the "fair market value" of your cat/dog. That is, the amount of money that you could have sold your animal for. Texas law does not allow a person to recover damages for sentimental value or mental anguish when their pet is killed. Therefore, you will probably spend much more money in attorney's fees than you would recover in a civil lawsuit. The law does not allow you to recover your attorney's fees from the killer even if you win your lawsuit.
THLN does not have the resources to assist on cruelty cases. We recommend that you call your local animal control agency, humane society or contact the SPCA of Texas by dialing 214.742.SPCA (7722) or via their website at www.spca.org/cruelty.
If you suspect that an animal has been abused, by someone you know or by a stranger, there are things you can do. The most important act you can take is to report the cruelty to your local law enforcement. In some cities, this may be animal control or a department of Humane Law Enforcement, while in other areas the police or sheriff's department may be the agency in charge of these sorts of crimes. Click below for more information about reporting animal cruelty:
Q: If people can't afford to take care of their horses, besides slaughter and auction, what other avenues do they have? Just a question. There are not enough foster homes or adoption homes set up for the unwanted.
Owning a horse comes with responsibilities and horse owners, just like caretakers of dogs and cats, must be prepared to make humane decisions at all stages of the animal's life. Providing food and water, protection from the elements, and paying for needed veterinary care are just the basics. In addition, horse owners must act responsibly should they decide they can no longer care for the horse. They can give or sell the horse to another caring home; they can relinquish or donate the horse to a rescue facility or therapeutic riding center; or, if no other option exists, they can have the horse humanely euthanized by a licensed veterinarian.
While making the decision to euthanize an animal should never be made in a lax manner, humane euthanasia is generally a superior option to sending a horse to a suspect purchaser at an auction. It's at auction where "killer buyers " often misrepresent their intentions and purchase horses for slaughter. They cram dozens of horses into cattle trucks and ship them, often more than 1,000 miles, to a slaughterhouse in Mexico or Canada, and the horses there suffer a grim and harsh fate.
The cost of humane euthanasia and disposal for a horse is comparable to the cost of one month's care and is simply a part of responsible horse ownership. Frankly, if someone can't afford the cost to euthanize a horse, they can't afford to own a horse in the first place.
The horse rescue community in the United States is growing and The HSUS has a number of programs aimed at helping horse rescues operate as effectively as possible. For example, through a partnership with Pets911, we have developed a searchable horse adoption database. Last year, we partnered with several other national animal welfare groups and some of the best horse rescues in the country to form the Homes for Horses Coalition. We are in the midst of compiling a national database of horse rescues and, thus far, have identified hundreds of active facilities. In the coming weeks, I'll share more news about these efforts. (Source: HSUS)
As animal protection advocates, we face well-funded special interest groups that oppose animal welfare laws at both the state and national levels. Their strategy? Spread misinformation about effective animal welfare groups such as Texas Humane Legislation Network and The Humane Society of the United States in an attempt to destroy our organizations' credibility.
The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), led by Washington-based lobbyist Richard Berman, enjoys a tax-exempt, nonprofit status while being paid millions of dollars to spin deceptive messages on behalf of tobacco, alcohol, and agribusiness interests.
The CCF attacks The HSUS through a website called "HumaneWatch," a site Berman created specifically for the purpose of spreading misinformation about The HSUS.
Other groups on Berman's hit list include Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and groups that work to expose the health risks of second-hand smoke, mercury in fish and processed foods.
To find out more about CCF founder and corporate front man Richard Berman, click here.
At the state level, a Texas-based group that calls itself the "Responsible Pet Owners Alliance" will be a highly visible and vocal force at the Texas Legislature next year to lobby against the puppy mill bill and other animal protection measures. RPOA -- representing pet breeders, pet dealers, retail sellers and related commercial interests -- propagates the CCF's false claims against The HSUS and uses similar tactics to attack THLN and its members.
To learn more about "Responsible Pet Owners Alliance," click here.
These groups pose a serious threat to animal protection efforts ONLY IF we allow their campaigns of deception to prevail.
Click here to make your voice heard for the animals by supporting THLN today. Every dollar helps and any amount is appreciated.
Two legislative sessions ago, THLN was successful in getting a law passed that limited the means of euthanasia to sodium pentobarbital or commercially compressed carbon monoxide. The law requires other steps be taken and safeguards imposed to ensure that if a gas chamber is used, that it is as humane as possible. It is certainly the second choice for humane euthanasia but, if done properly and in accordance with the regulations passed by the Department of State Health Services, it is said to be humane.
Browse to this URL - http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/ - and enter your address. You will be given a list of all of the legislators that represent you.
Browse to http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/BillNumber.aspx and enter the bill number (i.e., HB1096). You see the full information for that bill. To see current legislation currently under consideration, click here. To browse an archive of bills that have passed, click here.
THLN has several Texas licensed attorneys who have volunteered to consult with people regarding animal law issues. HOWEVER, we do not deal with animal cruelty issues or adoption issues. We do not have an animal shelter, nor do our members foster animals as part of THLN. If your inquiry involves a legal question that CANNOT be answered by contacting your local city animal control or local sheriff (or if the local law enforcement is refusing to help), you may contact us using our contact form. The inquiry will be forwarded to the appropriate person for a timely response. Please note that our attorneys are board members who volunteer their time as their private legal practice permits. Please give us 1-3 days to respond in most instances; however, during a legislative session, it may take a little longer. Other outstanding sources of information are the Southwest Regional office of HSUS, the SPCA of Texas, your local humane organization, and/or law enforcement. Information for contacting the SPCA and HSUS, as well other helpful contact information can be found on the THLN Contact page.
The Humane Society of the United States
Southwest Regional Office
6815 Manhattan Blvd., Suite 102
Fort Worth, TX 76120
Houston Humane Society
14700 Almeda Rd, Houston, 77053
P (713) 433-6421
Note: Go to the "Contact HHS" and click on Sgt. Mark Timmers for cruelty issues in the Houston area.
SPCA of Texas
362 S. Industrial Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75207
Animal Cruelty Hotline
1-888-ANIMALS x 120
214-651-9611 x 121
The Texas Humane Legislation Network provides the latest information throughout the legislative session on this website. Click here to view all of the latest legislation being considered. For urgent news and updates, visit our Action Alerts, and you can also sign up for our emails (action alerts and newsletters).
The Texas State Laws and Regulations dealing with Animal Shelters are listed below in the "Related Documents" section. Right-click the link to save the document to your desktop for reading and printing.
Laws that affect animal shelters 2009 (PDF, 110Kb)
Click the following link to view the Large Scale Commercial Breeder Bill Fact Sheet.
THLN has several Texas licensed attorneys who have volunteered to consult with people regarding animal law issues. HOWEVER, we do not deal with animal cruelty issues or adoption issues. We do not have an animal shelter, nor do our members foster animals as part of THLN.
If your inquiry involves a legal question that CANNOT be answered by contacting your local city animal control or local sheriff (or if the local law enforcement is refusing to help), you may contact us via email at "firstname.lastname@example.org" or using our contact form above. The inquiry will be forwarded to the appropriate person for a timely response. Please note that our attorneys are board members who volunteer their time as their private legal practice permits. Please give us 1-3 days to respond in most instances; however, during a legislative session, it may take a little longer.
Other outstanding sources of information are the Southwest Regional office of HSUS, the SPCA of Texas, your local humane organization, and/or law enforcment. You may contact the SPCA and HSUS at the contact information listed below.
SPCA of Texas
2400 Lone Star Drive
Dallas, TX 75212
Houston Humane Society
14700 Almeda Rd, Houston, 77053
P (713) 433-6421
Note: Go to the "Contact HHS" and click on Sgt. Joe Guerra for cruelty issues in the Houston area.
Community Initiatives, Senior Director
The Humane Society of the United States
Central Regional Office
4101 W. Green Oaks
#305 - Box 253
Arlington, Texas 76016